Emma Thompson
Tue, Sep 5, 2023 8:55 PM

Protests in Nigeria as Workers Demand Improved Welfare in Face of Rising Cost of Living

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Protests in Nigeria as Workers Demand Improved Welfare in Face of Rising Cost of Living
Workers in Nigeria have gone on strike to protest the rising cost of living following the removal of gas subsidies. The strike, organized by the Nigeria Labor Congress, threatens to shut down Africa's largest economy unless the government meets workers' demands for improved welfare. President Bola Tinubu's measures to revamp the economy have caused hardship for many, with critics accusing him of not acting fast enough to cushion the effects. The strike is a further blow to Nigeria's already slowing economy, which has been affected by declining government revenues and oil theft.

Protests erupted in Nigeria as employees in government offices walked off their jobs on Tuesday in a bid to demand improved welfare in the face of the rising cost of living. The protests were triggered by the removal of gas subsidies by President Bola Tinubu in May, resulting in what workers have described as "massive suffering."

Organized by the Nigeria Labor Congress, hundreds of thousands of workers participated in the two-day warning strike, the second in over a month. Some labor unions' representatives prevented their members from going to work and locked government offices to ensure compliance. However, the strike did not achieve widespread support across the country.

President of the labor association, Joe Ajaero, warned of a complete shutdown of the nation if the government fails to fulfill workers' demands within two weeks. One of the key demands is an increase in wages to alleviate the burden imposed by the removal of gas subsidies.

Tinubu's administration implemented measures to revamp Nigeria's economy, aiming to save money, strengthen the naira currency, and attract investors. However, these measures have caused hardships for millions, and critics accuse the president of not adequately addressing the consequences of his policies.

Upon ending gas subsidies, the price of petrol doubled, leading to a similar increase in the cost of other commodities. The government's devaluation of the currency further intensified the inflationary pressures, impacting the prices of various goods, including food.

Joe Ajaero highlighted the excruciating mass suffering and impoverishment experienced by workers around the country. Many are unable to afford transportation to work due to the high cost of living.

In response, Tinubu's administration implemented some initiatives, including a $5.5 million package comprising loans and grants to states. However, workers argue that these steps are insufficient, as their wages remain stagnant.

The government appealed for more time to find a resolution and warned that a prolonged strike would worsen the conditions for Nigerians. Labor Minister Simon Lalong emphasized the need for an atmosphere of industrial peace to address the situation.

Nigeria's economy has already been grappling with the slowdown caused by declining government revenues and oil theft. The strike poses further challenges in the country's efforts to boost economic growth and stability.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-05 News

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