By Akanimo Sampson
Displeasure over the hike in petrol pump price and electricity tariff by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is increasingly compelling more citizen groups to rise against the administration.
Despite heightened security in Abuja, the country’s capital, a coalition of civil society groups is busy mobilising citizens who are disenchanted with the Buhari administration to occupy the Federal Capital Territory.
The coalition, Nigerians Against Bad Policies says it will occupy and shut down the Eagle Square, the venue of the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary in Abuja on Thursday, October 1, over the fuel price and electricity tariff hike palaver.
According to the arrowheads of the coalition, they have already mobilised members across the country to join workers in their proposed nationwide protest against the Buhari administration.
Publicity Secretary for Movement for the Socialist Alternative, Oladimeji Macaulay, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights’ Gerald Katchy, and Take It Back Movement’s Juwon Sanyaolu, said in Abuja that the coalition was in total support of the planned strike action by the organised labour.
The authorities have been negotiating with leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in a seeming desperate bid to abort the strike that promises to ground the country. Abuja is making some enticing offers to labour including tax-free income for workers on Grade Levels 01 to 04, houses, cash benefits among others.
Parties to the negotiation agreed to resume talks on Monday after consulting their constituencies on deals being dangled.
Macaulay however, says no amount of intimidation and harassment by security operatives would stop them from embarking on the mass protest.
According to him, against the backdrop of the fuel price and electricity tariff hike, ‘’the Nigerians Against Bad Policies has begun mass mobilisation of the Nigerian people across the board to achieve maximum compliance with the call by NLC/TUC for total strike and protests.
‘’In liaison with our affiliates across states of the country, the coalition is organising rallies, sensitisation walks, etc as part of the build-up and follow-up to Monday, September 28 strike commencement.
“We call on NLC/TUC to be resolute in their demand for a total reversal of the increases, and not be cajoled by any partial Greek gifts or so-called palliatives.
“The Nigerian masses have become totally traumatised by bad governance, leadership insensitivity, run-away inflammation and economic collapse as well as the glaring corruption and lawlessness in the land, are totally committed and willing to wage this struggle with attendant sacrifices until victory is achieved.”
On his part, Katchy is condemning the attempt by the government to justify the hike in petrol pump price and electricity tariff, describing it as unacceptable.
“Again, we totally reject these and state for the umpteenth time, that these increases cannot be justified for any reason at this time. We in the Nigerians Against Bad Policies see it as nothing but sheer extortion and exploitation of the downtrodden masses of this country. Our demand again is nothing short of immediate and unconditional reversal of the hikes.
‘”In view of the foregoing, therefore, we hereby call on Nigerians to massively come out from the 28th September 2020 to march and protest against these anti-people policies by the Federal Government of Nigeria, to register their grievances and demand immediate and total reversal in the hike in petrol pump price and electricity tariff”, he says.
For Take It Back Movement, Sanyaolu, slammed President Buhari over the killings and kidnapping of innocent Nigerians by the bandits.
“Government is busy chasing after protesters while bandits are killing and kidnapping people everywhere including Abuja. Starting from September 28 to October 1 and beyond, we will protest and occupy this country. The fact of the matter is that a government that has failed has no reason to continue in the first place. This government has failed and Buhari should resign”, he said.