We were intimidated, threatened not to embark on protest –Ajaero

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By Michael Oche

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), comrade Joe Ajaero on Wednesday said the leadership of the workers’ body was intimidated and threatened not to go ahead with its two-day nationwide protest on mounting hardship and insecurity.

Ajaero who briefed journalists at the NLC headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday said the congress has evidence from Tuesday’s protest of the “importation of agents who were mobilised to the protest routes and grounds to cause violence against the peaceful protest.”

He said that was the major reason why the leadership of the Congress had to restructure the second day of the nationwide protest.

He said, “We were threatened with all manners of consequences that would be meted on us if we went ahead. We were, however, not perturbed as lifting the heavy yoke of suffering upon Nigerian workers and mass left us with no option than to press on.”

He said further that, “As we address this Press briefing, all the major routes to our Headquarters here in Abuja have become militarized. This level of intimidation is designed to suffocate and muzzle the voices of the citizens so that we can surrender the Civic space to retrogressive forces of the society.”

Ajaero insisted that if the government fails to comply within the specified timeframe of its earlier ultimatum, its NEC will convene again to decide on further lines of action.

He said, “The NLC remains steadfast in its commitment to defending and promoting the interests of Nigerian workers and the downtrodden masses. We will not succumb to intimidation. We will not yield to harassment. We will keep the interests of Nigerian workers and people at the heart of our actions all of the time.”

He explained that the NEC of the NLC has extended the ultimatum to the government by an additional 7 days, now expiring on March 13, 2024, adding that during this period, the government is expected to implement all agreements reached on October 2, 2023, and address other demands presented during the nationwide protest.