Protesters led by Organised Labour forcefully breached the first gate of the National Assembly (NASS) complex in Abuja on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, gaining entry to the premises.
The demonstration is a response to President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s “anti-people” policies and has witnessed a significant escalation.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and their affiliated unions are spearheading the protest, which originally started in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and has now spread to other states
The demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, initially gathered at the Unity Fountain in Abuja before marching towards the NASS complex to express their discontent with the current administration’s policies.
Frustration has been mounting over the recent removal of the petrol subsidy, which led to an astronomical increase in fuel prices, escalating food costs, and a surge in inflation.
As the protesters approached the NASS complex, they broke down the first gate and forced their way onto the premises.
In response to the escalating situation, Senators quickly entered into a closed-door session.
The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, stated that the protest would not be halted until the government provided a satisfactory response to their demands.
Nothing is stopping the protest, not even an overture from the government,” he said.
The unions are demanding the immediate reversal of the alleged “anti-poor” policies, an increase in the minimum wage, and the release of withheld salaries for university lecturers and workers.
President Bola Tinubu had recently attempted to address the mounting discontent with a broadcast to the nation.
In his speech, he promised to review workers’ salaries, increase the minimum wage, and allocate funds for palliatives in various sectors, including the manufacturing industry and transportation.
However, Organised Labour expressed disappointment with the president’s response, stating that the promised measures fell short of their expectations and did not address critical issues like the resuscitation of public refineries.
On Tuesday, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, had earlier warned against “violent mass protests” across the country.
Despite the caution, the protest has only intensified, with demonstrators showing no signs of backing down.