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‘50 million Nigerians go to bed hungry’ – NLC president speaks on next move after protests

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that at least fifty million Nigerians go to bed hungry due to the economic hardship in the country.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, NLC president Joe Ajaero said the two-day protest by members of the union is about hunger and not just a clamour for a review of the minimum wage. 

Ajaero noted that contrary to some claims, the two-day protest had nothing to do with the country’s minimum wage of N30,000.

“You have to understand it. This protest is about hunger. What of those who are not working? The minimum wage, when will it be completed? When will it be implemented? What will be the minimum wage that will remove hunger,” Ajaero queried.

“The UN said that every the poorest man should be fed on $2 per day. That’s the poorest. And if you have a family of six people, $2 per day by six is $12,” he said while addressing the press in Abuja.

“In a month, you have $360 which translates to about N700,000. Is that the minimum wage you’re talking about? Is that what will feed you? That’s feeding alone. I’m not talking about transportation and accommodation. So what are we saying? What about medical? What are we saying?

”Over 50million Nigerians are living below poverty line, when you say below it, those are the people that cannot get something to eat on daily basis. So it is our responsibility, and that has been the history of the labour movement to say it the way it is.

“Well, you know, we don’t, we don’t tell them what to do. We will tell them how we feel. There was hunger in the land, but it wasn’t this bad until deregulation. And then after the regulation, we proposed all that we needed to.

“If they had solved the problem of transportation immediately, they would have solved almost 50% of the problem.

“Because even when you process garri in the village, you need to transport it to town. The expenses you incurred on transportation, you add it to the cost of garri.”

Ajaero accused the Bola Tinubu-led federal government of failing to meet the demands of the union since the removal of fuel subsidy which he said has led to a rise in the cost of living.

“So the moment they touch PMS, you can’t fill your tank with N30,000, N40,000. So the moment they touched it. We said, ‘OK, bring CNG buses. This is  7-8 months, no one bus is on the street,” the NLC president said.

“So we have provided all those solutions, even the cash transfer. They are still telling us now that they will start the cash transfer and they were playing politics with it that they were diverting it to their accounts. After today, we review our situation and decide on other steps to be taken,” he added.

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