April 13, 2024

NLC Protest: Obaseki Earmarks N500m Monthly To Poorest Poor In Edo

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has promised to give N500m to the “poorest of the poor” in order to cushion the sufferings occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal. 

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The governor made the promise when he received members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Edo State chapter led by Edo State chairman of the union, Comrade Odion Olaye, during a protest in Benin City.

“We, in Edo State, are going to do our own bit. I have decided that every month, going forward, we will take N500m from our own money to give to the poorest of the poor in Edo State. We are not waiting for anybody,” Obaseki said.

Governor Obaseki also directed the labour unions to decline the palliative proposed by the President Tinubu-led administration, saying that “It is a continuation of the fraud FG has always undertaken against the people of Nigeria.

“Recall on May Day, this year, I warned you that we are likely to face the condition we are seeing today. And, I advised you in that speech that you should not wait but to be proactive and be ahead of the game. But, we are where we are today.

“I want to let you know that in Edo State that we are labour-friendly. Two years ago, did we not increase minimum wage? Was the situation as bad as this then? The reason is that we know that workers are suffering, and we had to do something about it. We know that your take home pay can no longer take you home and something must be done.

“We, in Edo state, will support your action that your wages must reflect the current realities. I also want to alert you that you should reject the so-called palliatives they want to give you. The so-called money for the palliatives should be given to the local government areas to take care of people. 

“So, we must stop this palliative fraud from the Federal Government. I want to call on labour to reject this palliative, let them give the local government areas the money to give the people because the government that is closest to the people is the local government. Federal Government has no business buying grains or palliative across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria,” Obaseki said.

On his part, Odion Olaye, who led other labour unions, including Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), said the removal of fuel subsidy has caused hardships to Nigerian workers and other citizens.

“We decided to protest after the government failed to listen to our demands. We want the Nigerian citizens to have breathing space. The issues of N8,000 to be given to the poorest, we are not a party to it. It is an insult to us. It will not take us two days. Government should work on our refineries.

Earlier, the labour union marched around the city center through ring road to secretariat building and terminated at government house calling for a reversal of the anti-poor policies.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “we demand immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of government that have taken food out of the hands of the common man; pur refineries are in comatose: they need government attention in fixing them up”.

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