The NLC and TUC were able to organise protests at the Houses of Assembly in most states.  The protests in Lagos and Abuja were widely reported and had thousands attending.

Protestors in Ekiti State

In Ekiti, activities at the Ekiti State House of Assembly were shut down for over three hours  as aggrieved workers stormed the assembly  over the contentious  bill.

Thousands protest in FCT

According to Punch “As early as 9am on Wednesday,  about 2,000 protesters had besieged the main entrance of the National Assembly. Although security agents shut the gate and prevented them from entering, at 11am they overwhelmed the operatives and forced their way in.”

Similarly, in Lagos, members of the NLC and the TUC  protested at the  Lagos State House of Assembly. “The unionists, who were stopped at the entrance to the House of Assembly by security men,  later gained access to the premises.”  They also laid siege to the governor’s office to prevent him from accessing it.

The trade unions were able to mobilise thousands of their members, so the police took a back seat.  In Abuja a protestor said, “No intimidation, no police  suppression. A police van tried to enter the Unity Fountain earlier [the start of the demonstration], they shouted on them and sent them packing.”  There was no mention of any arrests, tear gas or shootings in any on the states.

Back in FCT “After their members had entered through the main gate, the National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and his TUC counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, led other labour leaders to the National Assembly complex through the second gate. The labour leaders thereafter presented their petition to the House and the Senate.” (Punch)

In Kogi State, besides protesting the bill, workers also demonstrated against non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage. The NLC and the TUC during a protest at the state House of Assembly gave the state government a March 22 deadline to fully implement the minimum wage.

Also protests in Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Calabar, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara.  In total, protests took place in at least 25 state capitals.

Protest in Niger State

In Anambra, some of the placards carried by the workers read: “Stop the war on workers or lose your seats”, “Enough is enough for our lawmakers”, “Crime against workers, crime against humanity”, “We stand by ILO Convention of 1970”, “Yes to minimum wage on exclusive list”, among others.

We hope that these protests will kick start strikes in all states where the N30,000 has not been fully implemented.  We also need another large increase this year and indexation of the minimum wage in future so that its buying power is retained.


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