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Nationwide Strike: Coalition of CSOs back organised labour, declare Wednesday ‘Citizens Action Day’ 

A coalition of civil society organisations under the umbrella of The United Action Front of Civil Society, has declared total support for the call for nationwide protests by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).


The coalition stated this in a statement dated July 31 and made available to The Frontier.


According to the statement signed by its Head, National Coordinating Centre, Comrade Olawale Okunniyi (Veteran Che), the decision of the NLC which was conveyed in a communique at the end of its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting held July 25, 2023 and subsequently reinforced by its National Executive Council (NEC), is indeed a clarion call to salvage the country from the consuming miseries unleashed by the new regime in Nigeria and possibly to prevent military intervention in Nigeria as currently being witnessed in other West African countries.


The coalition went further to state that, “The United Action Front of Civil Society therefore unreservedly endorses and aligns itself with the nationwide protests scheduled to commence from Wednesday, August 2, 2023, as the federal government continues to watch Nigerians go through needless anguish as a result of unabated corruption and reckless impunity of the political elite and their cronies.


“The leadership of United Action Front of Civil Society therefore urges all Nigerians to urgently rally support for the Labour Movement and the broad coalition of the organised Civil Society under the United Action Front of Civil Society of Nigeria in making a massive statement against the new anti-poor government of the APC that Nigeria truly belongs to the citizens and that the poor truly deserves to breathe and not subjected to asphyxiation under the guise of fuel subsidy removal or any imposed economic agenda of their allied international finance cartel.


“The organised platform of the Nigerian civil society notes with grave concerns attempts by government through its agent provocateurs to paint the planned nationwide protests as threat to national security as well as contempt to their arm twisting court restraining order.


“We make bold to say that the call to action by Labour and its Civil Society allies is borne out of patriotic concern for the survival of the downtrodden, who have been trampled and frustrated into submission by the anti-people policies that are currently being mindlessly implemented without sensitivity and human face.


“Part of the plot to frustrate the national protests is the false claim relating to a supposed court order stopping the NLC from organising strike action over subsidy removal. We wish to assert that the call for a national citizens’ action is within the ambit of the democratic rights of citizens to organise and engage in peaceful and orderly manner to demonstrate their rejection of anti people’s policies.


“We therefore call on the government to desist from sponsoring fifth columnist to circumvent peaceful protests or instigate wicked propaganda to blackmail the leadership of the of the Labour Movement and their allies, as the organised civil society is also not unaware of elements being sponsored to blackmail Labour and its Civil Society allies. We are not oblivious of the grand conspiracy of the fifth columnists masquerading as voices of the people but whose ultimate intention is to coerce key leaders of the planned mass protest into abandoning the patriotic intervention to salvage the country from the brewing crisis being instigated through the anti-people policies and disposition of the Tinubu’s administration.


“It is indeed alarming that the new government has remained unperturbed by the crushing pains of overwhelming majority of Nigerians. The organised civil society therefore agrees with the NLC that the administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu has continued in an unholy mission of robbing the poor to pay the rich in Nigeria as typified by its continued frustration of the activation of the agreed alternatives to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as well as the latest hike in prices of PMS to N617 per litre.


“The United Action Front of Civil Society hereby declare Wednesday, 2nd August, 2023 as our long awaited Day of National Action for the commencement of a series of citizens protest actions to peacefully demonstrate the people’s rejection of government foisted economic policies and therefore call on Nigerians to enthusiastically participate in the national protests to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the hardship to which they have been subjected by an insensitive leadership that lacks the courage to deal with corruption. We call on Nigerians to seize the platforms of the nationwide protests to demand for probe into the grand corruption allegations involving past officials of the last administration and as well demand that government should demonstrate the political will to recover stolen billions of dollars claimed to have been paid as subsidies in the last eight years of the Buhari administration.


“We are indeed scandalized by the insensitivity and mockery of the Nigerian Poor by the national assembly whose leader and Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at a recent session, mocked majority of Nigerians as poor citizens who should be considered for a space to breathe. The organised platform of the civil society condemns such manner of insolence by the national assembly whose leadership recently got approval for exotic bullet proof cars at a time Nigerian worker were trekking to work with most households dispossessed of their meagre sums of two square meals per day as a result of high inflation spiked by sudden arbitrary hike in pump price of PMS in the name of subsidy removal.


“The United Action Front of Civil Society however maintains that corruption, rather subsidy is the problem that the Bola Ahmed Tinubu government should be worried more about, if he is genuinely interested in implementing a pro-people administration. Unfortunately, the president has so far demonstrated lack of courage to demand accountability in the subsidy claims under his predecessors for which monumental corruption have been perpetrated by notable individuals, who continue to display impunity as they still remain influential under his watch. “It is regrettable that while Senator Bola Tinubu continues to wax lyrical with feigned courage over subsidy removal, he has turned the deaf hear to the revelation of mind boggling corruption perpetrated by officials of the last administration; including some $19 billion dollars siphoned in the guise of turn-around maintenance (TAM) of moribund refineries as revealed on national television by Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State


“Finally, we again call on Nigerians across cities, communities and neighbourhoods to rally support for the nationwide protests scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. We call on civil society groups, community association, faith-based groups, students organisation, women groups, peoples with disabilities (PWDs), professional groups, artisans, farmers, traders, individuals across board, women, youths, students, the masses, the poor and the vulnerable generally to join the protests in their localities and make the historic citizens action a success. To this end, we call on Nigerians from all walks of life, home and abroad to join forces with Labour and the organised civil society in making their voices heard in the collective interests of defending citizens’ rights to life and survival as well as salvaging the future of Nigeria and its nascent democracy from the brewing crisis instigated by the anti-people policies of the current administration.”


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