By Amos Aar
BENUE workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TU) and the civil societies on Wednesday joined their counterparts across the country to protest against the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government which has subjected the Nigerian citizenry to untold hardship.
The protest began at NLC’s Secretariat in Makurdi and moved round some major roads to government house with protesters chanting solidarity songs and carrying placards with various inscriptions such as; “Workers now spend 70% of their salary on transportation, enough is enough, let the poor breath, Nigerians have now become trekkers while the president and his cohorts use hundreds of cars as convoy” amongst others.
Presenting their message to the President through the Benue State governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, chairman of NLC in the state, Comrade Terungwa Igbe, said workers can no longer survive with the salaries paid to them as a result of the high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal.
Comrade Igbe who commended governor Alia for starting well on the issue of salary of workers in the state emphasized that the essence of the protest was not against the state government in particular but the directive from the national Secretariat to protest against the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government.
He urged the federal government to establish refineries to solve the problem of unnecessary fuel hike in the country and immediately put in place the necessary infrastructure as well as other measures to cushion the effect of hardship being faced by the masses.
On his part, chairman committee for the organized rally, Comrade Umaja Aloysius, said, “we are all aware that subsidy has been removed and we heard a lot of juicy promises by the presidency that after the removal of the subsidy all will be well for us and when the subsidy was removed, we were all happy and jubilating. But before we knew, we began to see that there was no way we could even transport ourselves to our work places again, people can not even breath because things have gone higher and majority of the people have now developed high BP.
“So, it is on that premises that the national secretariat has directed that we should embark on a peaceful protest to government house to send our messages to the President”.
Addressing the protesters at government house, governor Alia who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Paul Biam, on behalf of the state government expressed pain over the hardship presently experienced by Nigerians and assured the protesters that their messages would be delivered to the President accordingly.
Governor Alia appreciated the state labour unions for conducting themselves in orderly manner during the peaceful rally and urged them to maintain the it even in the face of tribulation.