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NLC Protest: Refuse To Sit At Home…

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The Nigeria Labor Congress NLC and Civil Society Organizations, have again called out Nigerians to protest against the escalating cost of living in Nigeria on the 26 and 27 of February 2024. This call is not new and Nigerians have always responded with enthusiasm until recent history when the organizers lost direction they are yet to re-discover.

To this call ahead, it should be heeded. We must refuse to stay at home. Regardless of what is propagated, we must refuse to stay at home! The call is not to stay at home. It is to go out. There are groups issuing stay at home orders. This call is the opposite. It is to leave your home or office and go out for a national function.

Why You Should Come Out…

  1. Because things are not only difficult, they are getting increasingly difficult every hour and day.
  2. Because the government appears not to understand the urgency of the widespread hunger in the land.
  3. Because it is the right of citizens in a democracy to protest whatever they disagree with their government.
  4. Because peaceful protest is a legitimate instrument that can be employed by citizens to express their dissent with government policies. It is a global best practice.
  5. Because protest, even if it doesn’t change things instantly, draw the issues to the front burner and pushes State actors to the negotiation table.

What You Should Expect When You Go Out…

Note that anytime citizens announce their intention to resist government policies enmass, the interest, safeguards, security and livelihood of so many people and segments of the society is threatened. These interests which include both State and non-state actors, cannot predict how the protests will turn out so they are predictably paranoid.

  1. The Police and military will be deployed to intimidate the protesters, whether they are peaceful or not. But they will tell you they were deployed to maintain law and order.
  2. Depending on how organized the protesters are, government will use State organs to try and instigate and distribute violence in the different protest venues, like viral videos showed DSS operatives picking and dropping armed touts to cause violence in different #EndSars protest venues in Abuja and government loading armed touts in BRT buses led by Adagun Osha, to disrupt #EndSars protests in Ikeja. This will give the security agencies an alibi to use violence against protesters.
  3. As always, protesters will be tear gassed, whether they are peaceful or not. Many will be beaten, arrested and dragged into police vans and taken into detention and a few will be killed, advertently or inadvertently.
  4. There are always arrangements by protest organizers to ensure those arrested get legal representation in court to secure their release.
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What You Should Do And Not Do When You Come Out…

  1. Avoid anything that will instigate or conflagrate violence. That’s what the security goons need to unleash violence on protesters.
  2. Be nice and cautious with security agents. That won’t stop them from turning their tear gas canisters on protesters, but it will be on record that protesters took every precaution to avoid violence.
  3. Go with your phones and cameras and make sure you record every moment of the protest. Ensure your phones and cameras capture evidence of every moment during the protest. Any of those footage may just become what you will need to get the culprits.
  4. Keenly watch out for those who want to cause violence from amongst the protesters and promptly report them to protest organizers and/or the police. These violence forment-ers could be the protester next to you.
  5. Don’t be tempted or lured into destroying or looting any public or private property in the name of protest. The private property belongs to a protester like you who is also suffering like you, and the public property belongs to all of us. There is no wisdom in destroying or looting them.
  6. Watch out for yourself too and ensure you do not get hurt. But don’t be afraid of getting arrested or getting beaten, if you must.
  7. Don’t isolate yourself from the protest crowd and stand alone or hang around in corners during the protests. That makes you vulnerable. Join the crowds. There is more protection in the crowd. There is strength in the anonymity of numbers. Your staying in the crowds will further help to swell the crowd and give a bigger buffer for everyone.
  8. Give deliberate and adequate attention and protection to the aged and disabled people who may come for the protests.
  9. Get a telephone number or Twitter handle of any of the groups organizing the protests in different centers so you can always make a call or send an SOS for quick intervention in case anything goes wrong and remember to put a secured password on your phone or camera.
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What Our Security Agents Should Also Note…

  1. The security agents are not spirits. They are human beings, Nigerians buying from the same market like all of us. They should also realize that, it is a greater threat to our national security not to allow citizens to exercise their right to gather and express their dissent with their government.
  2. They should realize too that amidst the protesters are, their near and distant relations, friends and acquaintances. Their cousins, nephews, uncles, aunties and their children’s friends as well. That punch they want to throw, that bullet they want to shoot, that canister they want to explode, does not know those their relations, it could hit any of them as well.
  3. They should also realize that it will not always be true that they will always go scot free when they brutalize and humiliate peaceful protesters. As citizens continue to gather and preserve evidence from these occurences, the chances of addressing the infractions will not diminish. The day of reckoning will surely come and those who commit these crimes and those who ordered them to, will surely pay.
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Lastly, we see even grandparents of over 90 years and disabled people on wheel chairs, in protest venues across the globe. That’s because they are assured that those gatherings will not endanger them. They are sufficiently dissatisfied just like me and you and may come out as well, so everything must be done, both by the protesters and the Police, to ensure they are not hurt. I am not asking you to do what I cannot do or have not done before. I only think you now need to enrol.

Yours sincerely,
Citizen Agba Jalingo.

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