Get Set For A Tragic Protest, NLC Tells Jonathan

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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has described the year 2012 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday as a disaster waiting to happen. It further warned the President of a mass protest that would

 make the country ungovernable if the President stubbornly goes ahead with the budget as proposed.

In a statement issued by NLC and made available to , Wednesday, through its Acting General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa, it said a critical perusal of the year budget proposal shows that the present government has no intention to lead the country out of the present socio- economic crisis.

"The budget, which was tagged: Budget of Fiscal Consolidation, Inclusive Growth and Job Creation, is actually an anti-people budget designed purely in the service of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and their local lackeys who dictate to the Nigerian government. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

"In particular, the exclusion of fuel subsidy in the budget is not only tragic, but a declaration of war on the Nigerian people. Thus, the Nigerian people will have no choice but to confront this challenge.

"This further attempt to impoverish workers and the Nigerian poor, is coming at the heels of increased tariff on electricity, the move to massively sack workers in the name of merging parastatals, the attempt to collect more taxes through the return of toll gates, the refusal to adequately fund education, and refusal to pay minimum wage, which is an impeachable offence.

"Despite the country's security challenges, it is curious that the Jonathan government has allocated a massive lion share of the budget to security. In the first instance, the major cause of the increasing wave of insecurity in Nigeria is lack of education and mass unemployment, which are direct consequences of the general collapse of public infrastructure such as public electricity, roads, education, health," the statement read.

The umbrella body for Nigerian workers also emphasised that the security challenges in the country are further compounded by an alleged lack of political will and abysmal ineptitude of security agencies.

"No one should underestimate the general mass poverty, unemployment and discontent that has increased bottled up anger in our polity. The removal of fuel subsidy will provide the spark for mass protests such that even the increased security vote cannot buy enough arms to contain.

"Since the government of Jonathan has elected to punish the Nigerian people through a budget that is poverty inducing and will cause a lot of hardship, the Nigerian people will have no alternative but to resist.

"We call on all Nigerian workers and people to begin preparations for a general strike and mass protests. The people must be prepared in the next few weeks when the Jonathan administration begins to implement his anti-Nigerian policy. Nigerians should prepare to occupy the streets and public institutions to prevent them from being taken over by anti-patriotic forces," it stated.

The NLC said its leadership will be meeting on Tuesday December 20, 2011, to firm up strategies and give directive on the commencement of this planned mass protest and the resolve of workers and the Nigerian people to reclaim their country back.

The NLC called on the National Assembly to side with the electorate and the Nigerian people by refusing to pass the budget.

"We also ask the Jonathan administration to seriously have a rethink by reviewing his budget proposal, or be ready to take on the Nigerian people," it warned.