The members of the Movement for a Socialist Alternative MSA intervene in 5 states along sides the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to protest the anti-people policies of this government that have rendered millions of Nigerians in a state of hopelessness. The protest/rally took place in most state capitals. The protest was used to demand immediate implementation of the resolutions of the unions (NLC and TUC) with the Federal Government and the immediate reversal of all anti-people policies of the government, including the recent hike in PMS price, school fees and VAT.

Other demands include fixing the local refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna; for the government to release the withheld eight months’ salaries of University Lecturers and workers; and for the government to end inhuman actions and policies.

In most states, workers troop out en-mass to add their voices to the demands of the NLC. Carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “Government Listen to Nigerians Not IMF and WORLD BANK” and “Reduce the Cost of Governance and Save the Masses from Hunger”, among others, are demands also raised at the rally. The leadership of the trade unions were very much on the ground, including the Civil Society organisations and revolutionary organisations like the MSA, JAF.

In most states where we intervened, we are the only organisation with materials such as leaflets and paper. In Benin, for instance, some of our members participated with leaflets and papers, workers and passersby troops to our comrades to collect leaflets and bought about 35 copies of the papers and six contacts made. Our materials serve as the protest’s educational documents, making us the focal point in such an area. Despite the heavy rain earlier in the morning, the masses still ensure they troop out to register their voice against the anti-people policies of the Tinubu government. With unions such as ASUU, NASU, NUT, and NUEE in attendance, the rally was successful as the protest was a staged at the state house of assembly and onward to the government house, where the state governor also addressed the unions.

Also was in Abuja, where our comrades were the first to get to the venue with all our political materials, including banners. Our leaflets were well circulated as workers gathered to collect theirs; the MSA comrades engaged the rank-and-file workers on the ground with the issues around the anti-poor people policies of this government and why the people must resist it. The leaflets activated discussions and debates, and the comrades took the opportunity to engage workers and make contacts. At the National Assembly, where the rally terminated, protesters forced themselves into the complex after being prevented. With about ten copies of the paper sold, the intervention shows that workers are yearning for more actions from the trade unions.

In Osun, we had a similar acceptance of our materials. Hundreds of leaflets were circulated to workers present at the protest. This allowed us to discuss with the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities from Uniosun and staff from the Ede Polytechnic. The union also allowed one of our members, Seyi Struggle, to speak at the rally. Interestingly the unions have asked the MSA comrades to pay the union a solidarity visit which we intend to carry out with our other political materials to the various campus and reach out to students from those institutions.

In Lagos, members of the MSA also joined the over two thousand protesters who trooped out to condemn the obnoxious attacks on the living condition of the poor masses. The protest started from the Ikeja under the bridge with solidarity messages from the union leaders. The MSA leaflets and papers were available and used to engage the rank-and-file workers. While distributing leaflets and selling the papers, Comrades had discussions with some passersby before and during the protest and gave out over a thousand leaflets. Thirty-two copies of the paper were sold and were able to make two contacts.

On the eve of the protest, four branch members intervened with leaflets and paper in the community. With hundreds of leaflets circulated, the comrades had discussions with the tricycle and okada riders about the high cost of living as a result of the capitalist policies of the government. The market men and women’s response clearly shows that the people are gradually losing faith in the labour unions over the recent suspension of strike actions. The protest terminated at the Lagos government house, where the demands of the Unions were put forward to the government.

In Oyo state, the protest was also massive, with a mass of people also trooping out to add their voices to the demands of the Labour unions. On the eve of the protest, the state also had a protest rally, which included civil society organisations and Labour. Our members also intervened in the protest and, as usual, circulated our leaflets side by side, having discussions around the leaflet and paper. The comrades made some contacts around the protest ground.

Overall, the protest was effective as most of the state experienced the wind of mass movement. This action calls on the ruling elites against implementing anti-people policies (such as school fees increment and fuel hikes) sold to them by the imperialist agent of IMF and the World Bank. We in the MSA urge the Labour Leaders to be bold enough to call for a 48-hour warning strike to force the Tinubu government to back down on the policies that are endangering the living conditions of over 200 million people. 

The incessant increase in fuel prices is the failure of the government to ensure that the nation’s four refineries are functioning. For over a decade now, successive governments have continued to lie to Nigerians that the refineries are under turnaround and billions of naira have been budgeted to revamp the refineries. But yet, the refineries are not working to produce a drop of refined products.       

The government announcement of palliatives to Nigerians to “cushion” the effect on the masses is a deception that the labour unions should not take seriously. No amount of these palliatives put out by this government can cushion the effect on any Nigerian. Labour must begin mobilising Nigerians as this regime will not be different from others that have wasted Nigeria’s resources in importing refined oil or refinery maintenance.    The protest was peaceful and well attended by workers despite not being on strike. The MSA distributed about three thousand leaflets and sold 85 copies of the SOLIDARITY paper, with eleven new contacts made.