NLC Protesters Clash with Civil Servants in Oyo State Secretariat
ivil Servants in Oyo State Face Violence Amidst NLC Protest
Protesting members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Oyo State took their demonstration to the state secretariat for the second day, resulting in clashes with civil servants who refused to join the protest. The incident occurred yesterday, with the protesters beating up government workers and disrupting activities in government offices for several hours.
The NLC protesters, representing various ministries, including the judiciary, parastatals, and other agencies, are demanding the payment of leave bonuses, gratuities for retirees who have been stagnant since 2021, and the release of promotion letters for 2021 and 2022.
Their frustrations stem from Governor Seyi Makinde’s failure to engage in dialogue with them and address their grievances, including the payment of deductions and allowances dating back to his inauguration in 2019.
During the protest, the entrance to the state secretariat was blocked by aggrieved labour members for the second time, and some male union members forcibly emptied offices, compelling civil servants to join the demonstration. The protesters carried sticks, sang songs, and disrupted official duties, causing disruptions to vehicular movement.
In one incident, a civil servant named Dare Olaniyan, who identified himself as supportive of the protesters’ cause, was violently attacked and sustained injuries during the altercation. The Executive Assistant to the Governor on Security, CP Sunday Odukoya (retd), had to intervene to quell the violence and condemn the attacks on civil servants.
In response to the ongoing protests, a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) joined forces with the Labour Centre to urge the NLC to maintain peace and ensure the demonstrations do not escalate into violence and property destruction. The CSOs emphasized that they do not want a repeat of the looting, vandalism, and loss of lives experienced during the EndSARS protests in 2020.
Addressing the fuel subsidy issue, the CSOs acknowledged that its removal was essential to saving the economy from collapse and urged Nigerians to be patient and understanding during this challenging period. They emphasized that the removal of fuel subsidy had already resulted in significant savings, providing more funds for delivering democratic dividends to citizens.
Mr. Razaq Olookoba, speaking on behalf of the CSOs, called for peaceful protests and urged all Nigerians to exercise their rights within the confines of the law and not be swayed by anti-democratic elements trying to exploit the situation for political gain.
The local government council administrations were also urged to follow the federal and state governments’ examples by outlining their palliatives and measures to mitigate the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the citizenry.
As the situation continues to unfold, Oyo State remains tense as protesters and government officials attempt to find common ground amidst growing concerns over the potential for further violence and disruptions to government operations.