Don’t shoot protesters, you’re not different from the suffering masses, CSOs urge military, other security agencies

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

Some civil society organisations and other pro-masses groups have staged a peaceful demonstration in Osun State on Monday against worsening economic hardship in Nigeria.

They berated the Federal and State Governments for being lackadaisical to the plights of the masses, saying rising cost of living crisis has inflicted untold economic hardship on countless Nigerians.

The protesters trooped out on major streets of Osogbo, capital of Osun State while chanting songs to drive home their messages.

Armed with different sizes of banner bearing inscriptions such as “We Reject Fuel and Gas Prices Increments,” “We Say No to Economic Burdens on the Masses,” “Nigerians Must Organise and Reject Incompetent Government,” “The Working Masses Must Bod for Power to Replace the Tinubu Regime with a Working People Government,” “We Demand Affordable Living and Nationalisation of the Commanding Heights of the Economy,” among others.

Governor Oyetola while addressing the #EndSARS Protesters

Some of the CSOs included the Movement for a Socialist Alternative, Joint Action Front and Coalition for Revolution.

The protesters warned the military, Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force against shooting protesters, rather, they should join the nationwide protest announced by the nation’s labour movement because “they are also affected and must see the need to provide the needed support for the protest and strike action.”

In an interview after the protest which was monitored by security agents, the coordinator of the Movement for a Socialist Alternative in Osun, Habibat Jimoh, asked the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to act to save the masses from what she described as “anti-people policies of the Tinubu regime.”

Jimoh said, “The increasing cost of living has inflicted severe economic hardship on countless Nigerians, worsening their already difficult financial situations as a result of the anti-people neoliberal policies of the Tinubu regime. The burden of this crisis weighs heavily on the shoulders of ordinary citizens, increasing their struggles to make ends meet. There is no doubt that the economic hardship imposed on the populace has reached extraordinary levels, flooding every part of society.

“The imposition of privatisation and commercialisation policies by the ruling elites under the directives of the IMF and World Bank is naturally negative to the interests of the working masses.

“With the high cost of living and inflation (now approximately 30%), where there is income inequality, social injustice, and a general lack of access to necessities, it is formidable to say that the working people must wake up and say enough is enough.”

Calling on NLC and TUC not to succumb to the antics of the Federal Government in making them suspend the protest and strike, she added, “with tye continous increase in the cost of living, the Nigerian Labour Congress and thr Trade Union Congress need fo act to save the masses from these anti-people policies of the Tinubu regime.

“From the floating of the currency to subsidy removal, life has become unbearable for the common man. This is why we welcome the actions of the NLC and TUC to provide the necessary working-class leadership for the resistance of the working masses, begining with two days of national protest on February 27 and 28, 2024, leading up to general national strike action.

“We call on workers, both formal and informal, market women and men, students and youth, and the unemployed to form a protest and strike action committee at workplaces, factories, cpus and in the communities to coordinate the protest and strike so as to ensure victory on the part of the working masses.

“At the same time, we also call on the rank and file of the police and the military to not see themselves as any different from the working masses. They are also affected and must see the need to provide the needed support for the protest and strike action by not heeding any call from the Tinubu regime to shoot at protesters.”

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