The Lagos chapter of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and other civil society groups today converged again at the NLC house in Yaba, Lagos state to appraise the progress of protests they had tried to mobilize against President Muhammadu Buhari's decision to raise the price of fuel from N86.5 per liter to N145 per liter.
In today's meeting, the groups also discussed strategies for boosting the protests which have so far failed to show momentum.
The leaders said they were re-strategizing for a massive protest on Monday, May 23, 2016.
Today was the third day of protests called by the NLC to compel the Buhari administration to reverse the price hike. Labor leaders are also demanding a stop to deregulation and privatization.
The nation-wide protests began on Tuesday, May 17.
At today's meeting, labor leaders thanked protesters for their resilience since the protests began. "We really appreciate everyone who has been on the street with us since the beginning of the protest. We would also like to appeal to you not to be discouraged. This is not a fight of the union alone but for all the people," said Comrade Amechi, the deputy national president of NLC.
Union leaders disclosed that they would not be going out on street demonstrations, but plan to restrategize and evaluate the success of the protest so far.
Abiodun Aremu, national secretary of the Joint Action Front (JAF), accused the government of using the police to harass protesters.
"You saw them fully armed yesterday at Alausa. We need to device a new way and come up with a better plan on how to combat the situation. The police might take advantage of our number and humiliate us. We will come out bigger and better on Monday," he said.
The union leaders decided to converge again on Sunday, May 22, 2016, to prepare for Monday's massive protests.
“There is a need to be dynamic in our approach. If you see, the government has deployed policemen everywhere and they are waiting for us to come out so that they can harass us. They will be shocked if they did not see us on the street today. We shall take them by surprise on Monday," said Achike Chude, JAF's national president.
All union members were urged to go into their various neighborhoods and sensitize the populace, while the leadership of the unions said they would go back to the drawing board to restrategize.
Mr. Chude said it was important for all members to go back to their streets and sensitize their neighbors on the reasons for the protests.
Members also offered suggestions on how the union should move forward with the protests.
The NLC defied a court injunction issued on Monday, May 16 ordering its members not to embark on a strike. The union leadership went ahead with their strike on Tuesday, protesting the hike in fuel price as well as the Buhari administration's economic policies of deregulation and privatization.
The strike has elicited little popular support from Nigerians, but unions leaders have vowed to press ahead until the government meets their demands.