We have obtained DSS, police permissions for protest in Abia – Labour leaders


The organized labour in Abia State says it has obtained approval from both the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services, DSS, to join their colleagues from across the federation to protest the high price of petrol, following the federal government’s removal of subsidy on petrol.

This was made known by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, during their visit to Governor Alex Otti.

The labour leaders, who were led by Comrade Paschal Nweke of NLC and Comrade Ihechi Enogwe of TUC clarified that the Wednesday’s protest is not designed to attack the government of Abia State, but against the Federal government, adding that it is aimed at pressing home their disagreement with the federal government over its harsh economic policy.

The labour leaders thanked Governor Otti for paying July salaries of Abia workers before the end of July and also appreciated him for appointing a labour unionist, Comrade Sunny Onwuma as a commissioner.

Responding, Governor Otti thanked the visitors for coming to brief him about their plan and appealed to them to ensure that they conduct themselves orderly during the protest and not allow strangers to hijack the rally.

He explained how the twin issues of petroleum subsidy and foreign exchange demand had conspired to put the nation’s economy on dire straits, adding that it was only a rich few that were benefitting from subsidy payments and not the poor.

The Governor, however, acknowledged the negative impact that the sudden removal of subsidy on petrol may have had on the populace.

“The challenge for us is to ensure that the impact is reduced and we’re putting our heads together to see how we, as a State, will reduce the impact on our people.

“I’m happy that you have promised that there is not going to be any violence because people can also hijack it and once people hijack it, it goes out of your control,” Otti said.

The Governor declared that there is nothing wrong with protest for as long as it is conducted within the ambit of the law.

According to Otti, “It’s a democracy so your voices should be heard. But what I think is also important is that when you see genuine effort at resolving what you’re protesting against, then you should embrace it because all of us are asking for the same thing. We want a better place for everybody.”

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