The protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the lingering face off between the Federal Government and striking varsity unions, continued on Wednesday amid tight security.
Labour had scheduled Tuesday July 26 and Wednesday July 27, as National Days of Protest across the country in solidarity with striking varsity members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)
DIPLOMATIC DIARY reported that the protest kicked off on Tuesday in various states of the Federation, except in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
But on Wednesday in Abuja, the protest began at about 9:30am after members of the NLC leadership and leaders of various affiliated unions, as well as members converged on the Unity Fountain.
Among those physically present were the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke; and the immediate past President of the academic union, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, among others..
The protesters are expected to march to the National Assembly where the NLC president will deliver a message from the labour unions to the lawmakers.
DIPLOMATIC DIARY reports that ASUU had on February 14, 2022, embarked on a 4-week total and comprehensive strike to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
The Union had further extended its ongoing strike by another 12 weeks on May 9, to give the government enough time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues after an extension on March 14 due to an alleged lack of seriousness on the part of the federal government.
Other Varsity Unions, including the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists, (NAAT), are currently on strike.
Since the industrial action began, several negotiations between the union and the government have ended in deadlock.
The NLC, in its reaction, faulted the Federal Government over its handling of the industrial actions that have crippled activities in public institutions.
It also called on the government to pay the salaries of the striking workers, which it said had since “been frozen on the premise of the so-called ‘no work-no pay’ policy”.
Disturbed by the situation in the university sector, the labour body declared a two-day nationwide strike across all states.
But the NLC had warned the Federal Government to brace for a three-day nationwide strike if the crisis is left unresolved.
“The protest first is to show our concern and to also call for urgent action to resolve the issues. We took two levels of decision.
“First is the national protest to call for attention and for the issues to be resolved promptly, and the next level is three days national warning strike if nothing has happened after the protest to show our grievances”, said Wabba
Also Speaking at protest in Ikeja on Tuesday, Mrs Sessy, urged government to act or risk another #ENDSARS protest.
She said: “If the Federal Government does not resolve the strike within two weeks, there would be a nationwide mass protest. In fact, the ENDSARS protest would be a child’s play.”