Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has expressed solidarity with the labour unions and the civil society groups in their protests against the removal of fuel subsidy, saying they have a right to stage peaceful protest against any policy they feel aggrieved about.
Speaking during a protest to the Government House, Benin City yesterday by the labour unions and civil society groups, led by the state NLC Chairman, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun and TUC Chairman, Comrade Joe Aligbe, the Governor said government feels the pains of the people as a result of the subsidy removal, saying however that the issues would eventually be resolved through dialogue.
He said: “I appreciate the challenge arising from the increase, I appreciate the hardship the people are going through and therefore I appreciate why people have come out to protest. I want to assure you that I will convey the letter dutifully to the president.
He appealed to the unions: “You have a duty to ensure that in line with our tradition that those with political motives, with ethnic motives, with religious motives do not come under the legitimate protest to play up certain sentiments that will divide our people.”
Oshiomhole argued that Nigerians are one and the same whether in prosperity or poverty, adding that Nigerians are free to choose where they live.
The Governor urged the labour unions and civil society groups to make conscious efforts to ensure that the protest is not distorted by those with other selfish motives.
He added: “This is our country. We cannot run away from it. Let me use this opportunity to reassure the people of Edo State that government is aware of the challenge confronting them as a result of the changes in prices. I am confident that the Federal Government and the leadership of the Civil Societies would resolve these issues around dialogue.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Edo State chapter, Comrade Ademokun presented a letter to the Governor for onward delivery to the president.
Comrade Ademokun urged the president to revert the price of petrol to the former price of N65 per litre, adding that the hardship of the subsidy removal is biting hard on the masses.