Hardship: Workers Protest in Ondo

Workers in Ondo State took to the streets of Akure, the Ondo State capital, today protesting the current economic hardship and insecurity in the country.

The protesters, in their hundreds, marched through the streets of the capital city, following the directives from the national body of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), chanting various solidarity songs

The state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Victor Amoko, who led the peaceful protest to the governor’s office in Alagbaka area of Akure, said the peaceful protest was to register people’s grievances against the poor policies of the government and the untold hardship facing the country.

According to Comrade Amoko, some of the demands included the need to end hunger and poverty, end naira devaluation, support local oil production by revamping refineries, end insecurity, create jobs, and reject IMF and World Bank policies, among others.

The Ondo NLC chairman said the union was not having problems with the Ondo State government and expressed hopes that the messages of all the protests across the nation would be delivered to President Bola Tinubu for timely action.

While speaking, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa appealed to the protesting workers to give the government more time, saying
that the state government was not unaware of the difficult situation brought by the hardship to the people of the country.

The governor, represented by the state Head of Service, Kayode Ogundele, said there had been a high level of harmonious relationships and industrial peace between government and labour in the state.

While pledging to relay the message of the NLC to President Bola Tinubu, he reiterated his administration’s resolve to ameliorate the situation in the state by continuing all the palliative measures put in place to assuage the effect on the citizens.

He said while the state had since begun monthly payments of N35,000 wage award to its workers, every retiree had been receiving N10,000 for the past few months

He disclosed that an additional five CNG buses had been procured by the state government to be added to the existing buses already deployed to commute workers and students to and from work and school.

He said, “We thank you for making this protest a very peaceful one. There is no doubt about the fact that in Ondo State, the NLC and the TUC, who are the key representatives of the labour force, have been partners in progress, just as the state has taken the issues of labour and workers as very critical. That is why, from time to time, we have always adopted the principle of negotiation and dialogue.

“I want to say that the government of Ondo State is not unaware, and it’s really not unconscious of the difficult situation that we have found ourselves in because of the state of our economy.

“And you will bear me out that this government has taken proactive steps to ensure that the level of hardship and difficulty is assuaged for workers in the state.

“Ondo State Government has ensured that for every worker in the state today, we have cleared all outstanding arrears of salaries. This is a way to keep workers floating and going in the midst of the hard economic reality we have to face.

“Beyond that, the government has put in place some programmes and activities to assuage the problems, and that includes the free transport shuttle.

“In fact, the programme ought to have ended in December last year, but the governor saw that the issue of the cost of transport needed to be taken care of and continued to approve money every month so that our workers would continue to enjoy free transport from their homes to their offices and back to their homes.

“Ondo State Government will continually take proactive steps as the need arises to ensure that our workers are well taken care of.”