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Nigerian workers start two-day nationwide protest

A two-day protest kicked off in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos on Tuesday (Feb. 27) morning shortly before other locations nationwide followed.

One of the country’s main unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has called workers to demonstrate outrage at the mounting hardship and insecurity.

The watchword was “endhardshipnow”.

Nigerians are living through one of the West African nation’s worst economic crises in years triggered by surging inflation and the consequences of monetary policies that have pushed the currency to an all-time low against the dollar.

“Open all food storage silos and ensure equitable distribution across the country,” one of the demands in a letter circulated in the media read.

The trade union umbrella NLC called on the government to abandon World Bank and IMF policies which they believe are adding to hardship in Nigeria.

On Monday (Feb. 26), the finance minister announced the resumption of direct cash transfers to help over 12 million vulnerable households.

The situation is at its worst in conflict zones in northern Nigeria, where farming communities are no longer able to cultivate what they eat as they are forced to flee violence. 

Before the protest Tuesday, Wale Edun told the BBC that President Bola Tinubu was “listening and acting in order to meet the needs of Nigerians”.

How did things get so bad?

Nigeria is not just Africa’s largest economy. Its gross domestic product is driven mainly by services such as information technology and banking, followed by manufacturing and processing businesses and then agriculture.

The challenge is that the economy is far from sufficient for Nigeria’s some 210 million population, relying heavily on imports to meet the daily needs of its citizens from cars to cutlery, and not producing enough. It is therefore easily affected by external shocks such as the parallel foreign exchange market that determines the price of goods and services.

Source: Africanews.

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