The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Tuesday night, suspended further street protests, earlier scheduled to continue today after recording nationwide success at day one protest rallies against hunger in the country.

In a communique at the end of a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NLC held in Abuja, on Tuesday, the congress said after reviewing the first day of the protests, it decided to suspend street action for the second day of the protest.

This is following the success recorded at day one, which by extension, attained the key objectives of the second day protest on the first day.

The communique signed by Ajaero and the Acting General Secretary, Comrade Ismail Bello, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian workers and masses for sending a strong message to the powers-that-be on their united resolve to demand accountability from them.

The communique read: “The NEC-in-session therefore reviewed the execution of the first day of the nationwide protest to assess its effectiveness and take decision on further necessary action to guide Congress in its effort at engaging the government to protect the people and Nigerian workers from the increasing scourge of hardship.

“To this end, NEC commended Nigerians, all NLC affiliates, state Councils, Workers and Civil Society Allies across the Nation for trooping out in large numbers to peacefully demonstrate their outrage on the hardship imposed by the government and its twin altars – the IMF and the World Bank.

“It is believed that the message has strongly resonated. Consequently, NEC-in-session resolved as follows:

“To suspend street action for the second day of the Protest having achieved overwhelming success thus attained the key objectives of the 2-day protest on the first day.

“However, nationwide action continues tomorrow with simultaneous Press Conferences across all the states of the federation by the state Councils of the Congress including the National Headquarters.

“To reaffirm and extend the 7-days ultimatum by another 7 days, which now expires on the 13th day of March, 2024 within which the government is expected to implement all the earlier agreement of the 2nd day of October, 2023 and other demands presented in our letter during today’s nationwide protest.

“To meet and decide on further lines of action if on the expiration of the 14 days government refuses to comply with the demands as contained in the ultimatum.

“Once again, NEC recommits the NLC to continuing defending and promoting the interests and desires of Nigerian workers and the downtrodden masses.”

But amid fears of likely crackdown by the authorities to try to prevent the national protest from happening, workers held the protest against biting hunger and food crisis.

The workers thronged the Labour House, headquarters of the apex labour centre in Abuja to begin the protest over the high cost of living in the country.

Thousands of workers besieged the Labour House as early as 7am chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards, urging the government to do something to arrest worsening hunger, inflation and to take effective measures to check insecurity.

The protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions such as: “Tax the rich, subsidise the Poor”, “Make our refineries work before removing subsidy”, “Let the poor breathe” and “Pay us our 35k wage award”, among others.

The labour movement is actualising its 14-Day ultimatum earlier issued for the government to do something to check the food crisis and hunger in the land which it attributed to the sudden removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal government.

It will be recalled that on Feb. 16, NLC at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting declared a two-day nationwide protest from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, over the worsening economic hardship and insecurity in the country.

In response, the Department of State Services (DSS) had warned the NLC not to embark on the planned protest for the fear that it would be hijacked by unscrupulous elements.

However, addressing journalists shortly before commencement of the rally, NLC president Joe Ajaero said workers were determined to protest the growing hardship and poor response by the government to their plight.

When asked about the outcome of Tuesday night’s meeting with the federal government’s team, Ajaero said all the government intended to achieve with the meeting was to stop the protest by NLC.

“Yes we met late Sunday and also late Monday but all the agenda pushed by the government was to urge us not to protest today. Government said we should not protest and that some of us have a date with history today if we defy that plea to come out.

“The government used peaceful means and the used threats but we are in God’s hands,” he said, urging the federal government to urgently address hunger and economic hardship in the country.

His words: “We are here to tell the federal government that Nigerians are hungry. The rally is also to make Mr President to know how Nigerians feel. We are the ones who know where it is pinching us.

“We are also out to do a protest and to register before Nigerians and the international community the level of sufferings  and that there is  hunger in the land.

“We want to call on the federal government to immediately address the issue of hunger in the country. There is nobody that does not know that bag of rice is over N70, 000 or more, we cannot buy Indomie and bread is out of the reach of ordinary Nigerians.

“With N30,000 minimum wage, if you eat a loaf of bread everyday, you will be spending over N40,000,” he said, noting also that the International Labour Organization specified a minimum of two Dollars for feeding each family member.