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Organised labour commences nationwide ‘hardship’ protest in Nigeria

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Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have commenced a nationwide “hardship” protest to express their grievances over the current economic hardship and hunger in the country occasioned by the reforms carried out by President Bola Tinubu.

The protests, which have been earmarked to hold on Tuesday and Wednesday, are a fallout of government’s alleged failure to implement agreements reached between the labour unions and the federal government on October 2, 2023, following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

The decision to embark on the mass protests followed the conclusion of a 14-day ultimatum issued to the Nigerian government to implement measures against the widespread hardship which has seen pockets of protests in some states across the country.

The federal government had also initiated moves to stop the protests with a meeting between which was scheduled for Monday night between the federal government and the NLC ending in a deadlock with the union vowing to go ahead with the protest.

Meanwhile, the police has assured that it will provide security for the protesters so as to protect them as well as prevent miscreants hijacking the peaceful protests.

A statement issued by the Force Headquarters on noted that police personnel have been placed on red alert and will be deployed across the country to ensure that the protests are peaceful, while also ensuring that that officers will remain vigilant to prevent any attempts by hoodlums to hijack the protests.

“On the heels of the proposed nationwide protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the NPF hereby affirms the fundamental right of all citizens of the country to engage in peaceful protest in line with extant laws,” the statement signed by Force PRO, ACP Muyiwa Adejobi, said.

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‘Reconsider your anti-people policies, they are causing hardship, insecurity in Nigeria’— PDP tells Tinubu

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Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on President Bola Tinubu to consider what it calls his anti-people policies that are causing hardship and escalating insecurity in the country.

The PDP, which made the call on Thursday during the party’s 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at its National Secretariat in Abuja, also urged the President to urgently convene a special National Security Council (NSC) meeting to “proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity in the country.”

In a Communique issued at the end of meeting and signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, the party said it was worried by the anti-peoples policies of President Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

The former ruling party it was difficult to understand why Tinubu has not reconsidered some of his policies, “which had led to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.”

“NEC expresses concern over the ill-implemented policies of the insensitive APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country,” the communiqué reads.

“NEC expresses serious apprehensions over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.

“NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians,” the PDP added.

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Zambia asks EU to help strengthen its democratic initiatives ahead of 2026 elections

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The Zambian government has called on the European Union (EU) to help in strengthening democratic initiatives in the country as it prepares for general elections in 2026.

Justice Minister, Mulambo Haimbe, who made the request when EU Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA, Karolina Stasiak, handed over the 2021 elections report to him in Lusaka on Wednesday, said the project which came to an end in 2021 contributed greatly to the smooth electoral processes which saw the election of President Hakainde Hichilema into office.

“We are live to the fact that the strengthening democracy in Zambia played a very crucial role in the run up to the 2021 general elections and we want a similar process in the run up to the 2026 general elections,” Haimbe said during the meeting.

Haimbe, who is also the acting Foriegn Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, stated that the Zambian government had projected mid 2025 to close up areas that had been identified in the electoral and legal reforms.

He noted that government had given itself mid 2025 as the timeframe of significant steps in the electoral reforms with some of the steps achieved already, like the passing of the Access to Information law.

“The others we have discussed include some of the low hanging fruits like the amendment to the electoral Act and amendment to the Constitution which we consider at the Executive as non contentious to foster democracy,” Haimbe stated.

The minister also pledged that government would continue to work with various stakeholders like the EU, to further improving the democratic space in the country.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, Stasiak said the report was an independent expert report and not necessarily the views of the EU in Zambia.

“It is an assessment done at expert level comparing to international standards on electoral process and reforms and they have formulated this report also comparing to the recommendations made by the missions in 2021,” she stated.

Stasiak further highlighted that the report noted improvements which had been made in the electoral reforms such as the implementation of the Access to Information law and the removal of the Defamation of the President from the Penal Code.

“Zambia is a very good example, an important example within the region to demonstrate that democracy can go hand in hand with sustainable development,” Stasiak emphasized.

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