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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Nigeria Police Force deploys anti-riot units ahead of nationwide protest over economic hardship

Tensions Rise as Nigeria Labour Congress Prepares for Protest Amid Government Warning and Stakeholder Disagreement

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The Nigeria Police Force has taken preemptive measures, deploying anti-riot operatives in strategic locations across the country in anticipation of today’s nationwide protest called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to voice concerns over the prevailing economic challenges in the nation.

According to the force spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, policemen have been placed on red alert following the NLC’s insistence on proceeding with the demonstration despite warnings from the Presidency and police authorities. The protest, rooted in grievances over the alleged failure of the government to implement agreements reached after the removal of the fuel subsidy, has stirred controversy and divided stakeholders.

While the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, remains resolute in pushing forward with the protest, citing the dire economic situation, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and 65 civil society groups have distanced themselves from the demonstration.

In response to the planned protest, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has directed state commissioners of police to ensure the safety of protesters while emphasizing the force’s commitment to upholding citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly. However, the police have issued stern warnings against any attempts to disrupt public peace or hijack the protests for ulterior motives.

The deployment of police assets and tactical teams has been witnessed across various states, with meetings held between police authorities and labour leaders to coordinate security arrangements and ensure a peaceful rally. Despite assurances of security coverage, tensions remain high, particularly in Lagos, where armed police operatives have been positioned in hotspot areas.

While the TUC has distanced itself from the protest, calling for government action to alleviate economic hardship, a coalition of civil society groups has thrown its weight behind the NLC-led demonstration, citing the need to address the “unmitigated sufferings and impoverishment of Nigerians.”

As the nation braces for the protests, stakeholders are urged to exercise restraint and uphold the principles of peaceful assembly, even as concerns linger over potential clashes and disruptions during the demonstrations.

The outcome of today’s protests will not only reflect the depth of public discontent over economic policies but also test the government’s resolve to address pressing socio-economic challenges facing the nation.

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