The Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), a human rights cum pro-democracy group in Nigeria, has endorsed the proposed nationwide protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday, 2 August 2023.
The group made its position known in a press release by its Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, and the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Comrade Vincent Aluu and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Monday, July 31, 2023 after the chairperson of the state NLC, Comrade Sunny James with his team to paid an advocacy visit to the CHRAN.
The rights group stated that peaceful protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right of every Nigerian citizen, adding that peaceful protest has over the years proven to be one of the most useful and viable democratic tools used to draw the attention of government to the issues affecting the people.
CHRAN observed that since President Bola Tinubu took over governance of Nigeria on 29 May 2023, things have gone from bad to worse.
The group maintained that over 60 days in office, the Tinubu-led administration appeared incapable of handling the myriads of challenges facing Nigerians, thus leading the poor masses into untold hardship in the midst of abundant natural resources.
CHRAN noted that the sudden removal of the fuel subsidy by President Tinubu without first putting in place necessary mechanisms and palliatives to help cushion its adverse effect on the Nigerian masses, has exacerbated the sufferings such that the poor can no longer breathe, while prices of commodities, goods and services have skyrocketed beyond the reach of the common man.
The group condemned the incessant pump price increases by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mallam Mele Kyari, under the guises of market forces, adding that the Nigerian masses have no reason to suffer and/or die of starvation in the midst of plenty in the country.
The group called for the immediate reversal of the fuel pump price by President Tinubu as Nigerians did not vote for either Mele Kyari or market forces, questioning why the fuel subsidy removal has not affected the flamboyant lifestyle of the political class.
The CHRAN asserted that the harsh economic policy is targeted at the poor masses who have been forced to bear the effects of leadership ineptitude and misgovernance, urging President Tinubu to without further delay roll out palliatives to the poor masses of the country – in the kind and manner – provided for the Judiciary and the Legislative arms of government.
Meanwhile, during the advocacy visit, the Akwa Ibom State Branch NLC Chairperson, Comrade Sunny James, had sought the support and participation of the CHRAN in the planned NLC protest, describing CHRAN as a worthy partner in the struggle for a better society for all Nigerians.
James said that the planned NLC led nationwide protest will be peaceful, noting that the labour movement will converge at the NLC state secretariat by 7am before proceeding to the Idongesit Nkanga secretariat by 7:30 am and later move to the Government House gate at Wellington Basseyway to deliver an address to the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno and, thereafter, move in a procession to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly complex to deliver an address to the Speaker of the Assembly.