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Falana-led Group, ASCAB Writes Nigeria Labour Congress, Vows To Support Its Planned Protest, Stay-At-Home Action Over Naira Scarcity

March 26, 2023

ASCAB, in a letter, addressed to the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, dated March 24, 2023, and signed by its National Chair, Femi Falana (SAN), described the action as long overdue.

The Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has promised to support the Nigeria Labour Congress over its protest and stay-at-home action by its members from Wednesday, March 29.

ASCAB, in a letter, addressed to the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, dated March 24, 2023, and signed by its National Chair, Femi Falana (SAN), described the action as long overdue.

The group further said it would provide support for the labour congress in its quest  

Last week, NLC declared a nationwide strike to protest against the cash scarcity in the country.

It also directed affiliate unions constituting the NLC to be on standby for picketing exercises at all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria nationwide.

SaharaReporters had reported how the apex bank introduced new N200, N500 and N1000 notes and directed that old notes cease to be legal tender from February 10. Although the Supreme Court later extended the deadline to December 31, 2023, Nigerians have continued to face hardship over the scarcity of the banknotes.

“ASCAB provides its full solidarity for the action promised by the NLC which if anything is overdue,” ASCAB said.

“We look forward to being able to assist with the pickets of the CBN offices in every state and providing any support that we can for the planned stay at home action from next Wednesday, 29th March.”


The group expressed “hope that this action will be implemented, as planned, and as soon as possible, as we cannot overemphasise the trauma that the cash restriction policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is causing, especially to poor families”.

It noted that Nigerians had been facing difficulties getting cash, adding that for those “working in the informal economy, the cash restrictions have been nothing less than catastrophic”.

“The whole POS business sector, for example, that employed approaching two million people, has now been put out of business. 

“Markets and other areas of the informal sector have also been extremely affected by the lack of cash. Millions of poor people are now suffering a further significant cut in their meagre incomes,” it added.

The letter further read, “This means that millions of people now go hungry on a daily basis, whilst 60% of the population were merely multi-dimensionally poor before the cash crisis started. Like the lock-down and the closure of the boarders in 2020, this is another devastation forced on the mass of poor people by the Government.

“Millions of members of the NLC member trade unions are now suffering a further reduction in their living standards that they can ill afford. Over the last four years, since the minimum wage should have been last increased, prices generally have a least doubled – or putting another way, workers can now only buy half of what they could in early 2019.

‘This shows how important it is that the minimum wage is increased again, as soon as possible. In fact the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that such minimum wages should be increased every year and this does in fact happen in most countries.                    

“In this situation, it is catastrophic for most working families that they have to struggle to find cash every day to travel to work, to buy food and to try and cope with the situation when any of their family falls ill. It is vitally important that the NLC has now called action over this issue and we hope that the promised action is carried through as soon as possible.

“The immediate prospects for working people do not look good. The president elect has promised that he will end the fuel subsidy in June. The National Bureau of Statistics recently said that the price of petrol has increased by over 50% in the last year. The price of diesel, now at well over N800 per litre, gives some indication of the likely impact of the end of the fuel subsidy. We hope that the NLC will take appropriate action to address this threat.”