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Hardship: Shelve your planned protest, DSS warns Labour

The Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday urged the organised labour to rescind its decision to embark on a nationwide protest on February 27…

The Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday urged the organised labour to rescind its decision to embark on a nationwide protest on February 27 and 28 over the current hardship facing Nigerians.

The secret police said it understood that the protest was the legitimate right of the movement to press home its demand, but said it should be suspended in the interest of peace across the country.

Peter Afunanya, the spokesman of the secret police in a statement issued in Abuja, called on the leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress and its counterpart from Trade Union Congress to dialogue with the government officials.

Daily Trust had reported that the organised labour, after its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Friday, declared that it would embark on a two-day nationwide protest following the federal government’s refusal to honour last October agreements they reached.

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But Afunanya explained that the protest would highten tension across the country, saying that it has come to the knowledge of the DSS that government at all levels are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such, should be given a benefit of the doubt.

He said, “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by sections of the organised labour to stage protests between 27th and 28th February, 2024 in parts of the country over sundry economic issues.

“While the Service recognises such action as the legitimate right of the labour movement, it, however, urges the body to shelve the plan in the interest of peace and public order.

“The DSS further calls on parties to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engaging in conducts that could heighten tensions. This is more so that the Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence.

“The development, without doubt, will worsen the socio-economic situation across the country. It is common knowledge that all levels of Government are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such, should be given a benefit of the doubt.

“So far, appropriate authorities are working assiduously with a spectrum of stakeholders to fashion out modalities to address the current difficulties. They should, therefore, be given the chance to handle the challenges at hand.

“On this vein, citizens are encouraged to recognise that what remains unsolved in peace time, would not be attained in war-time. The timeless piece of the esteemed Poet, JP Clark, “The Casualties” is a resonating reminder to us on the possible dangers of escalated conflicts. In time of trouble, everyone will be a casualty.

“Also, ongoing wars in the global scene is a stark reminder of their catastrophic repercussions on the affected countries’ domestic environments thus, the critical need to protect and maintain our internal stability and unity.”

According to him, there are some brains behind plans to cause crisis in the country, saying those exploiting the fault lines in the country need to have a “rethink as resort to negativities will endanger our peaceful coexistence with dire consequences.”

He added, “Similarly, parents and guardians are implored to exert authority in guiding their children and wards from inimical acts capable of jeopardising public safety and harmony.

“Additionally, all sectors, including political parties, opposition groups, religious and traditional institutions, civil society and non governmental bodies are called upon to eschew violence; demonstrate leadership and statesmanship in these challenging times.

“Making political capital out of the current situation or involving in divisive utterances at a time like this, will be of no benefit to any peace-loving Nigerian. Citizens are advised to be vigilant and not allow fifth columnists and hostile forces or agents to use them to destabilise the peace of the nation.

“The DSS stands opposed to violence as a means of settling our present day challenges, be they economic, political or otherwise. Accordingly, the Service will work with sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure that lasting peace is maintained in the country.”

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