The Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, a coalition of 80 labour and civil society organisations, has thrown its weight behind Nigerian workers and groups ahead of plans to embark on a nationwide shutdown on September 28.
The coalition has asked its affiliate members to spread across the country to begin mobilisation towards the day set aside for action by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.
In a statement on Wednesday, the ASCAB Chairman, Femi Falana (SAN), asked the Nigerian Government to ensure the safety of citizens, who will show their discontent with the economic policies of the federal administration on September 28.
Falana asked the government to ensure police gave protection to protesters as dictated by the Nigerian constitution.
The statement stated: “ASCAB and all its 80 affiliate members across the country have been asked to prepare their members for a day of protest against anti-people policies of the government. Our members will come out in millions to show their determination to free the fetters of iron and the chains of economic and political repression foisted on them by the federal and state governments.
“Nigerian Government has justified the fuel hike from N148 litre to N162 litre. This was premised on the falling fuel price in the international market. The government said that the poor do not benefit from low fuel prices and that on the long run the hike will boost revenue which will be used to boost the economy.
“The claims of the Federal Government were false. Many countries have been providing subsidy for the extremely poor through health care services, access to public education, water, good food, housing and public transportation but in Nigeria, the leadership concentrates on adding to the burden of the masses thereby fuelling ceaseless public outrage, anger, desperation and even providing the breeding ground for the emergence of terrorist groups.
“We have seen a continuous regime of subsidy removal for the past four decades. It is now clear that the subsidy removal and fuel hike have become rituals, slogans, catchphrases that are used continuously to defraud the Nigerian masses.
“For over 40 years, Nigerians have been subjected to a gory tradition of fuel price hike with spurious justifications. In the past few years before 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari and many people in the current All Progressives Congress leadership were part of those who resisted the fuel price hikes. They pretended to be on the side of the people. Today, these same people are the ones defending the same position they all stood against. This reflects the fact that political parties in Nigeria are largely the same in form and content.
“We fully support the position of TUC and NLC. ASACAB will intensify its campaign to ensure mass participation of Nigerians in an affair that affects their livelihood.”