July 15, 2024

Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, has called for calm amid protests against economic hardship in the country, stating that the difficult times being experienced by Nigerians will soon pass.

Makinde, who declared his support for the protesters calling for an end to hardship and hunger being experienced by the people, however, warned that the protests must be peaceful and constructive in order to achieve the desired result.

Governor Makinde stated this on Tuesday, while addressing members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who converged on Total Garden Roundabout in Ibadan.

Makinde said it was time for the country as a whole to come together and address the challenges and problems facing it, adding that it is, indeed, a trying period for Nigerians.

The governor compared the present situation with what obtained in 1989, during the days of the Structural Adjustment Programme, saying that reforms always come with consequent challenges but it has become imperative for all Nigerians to work together.

The governor also warned against generalisation that states had been doing nothing to ease the hardship, stating that Oyo State Government had been paying wage awards to workers and pensioners in the state since October 2023.

He added that the state government only recently extended the payment of the wage award by another six months to allow for the conclusion of discussions on a new minimum wage.

He said: “My message to the protesters and people of Oyo State is to simply let them know that this is a trying period for our country. It is not the time for divisive activities. We have to pull together and confront the challenges that we are faced with.

“Usually, when you are going through a period where you are trying to reform a system, there will be challenges. We saw it in 1989 during the Structural Adjustment Programme. We had riots but, at the end of the day, we still all came together to solve our problem.

“I told the NLC president that this is not the time for lies and propaganda. No one can say that no state is paying wage awards, as we have been paying it to our workers and pensioners since October 2023.

“Even, I have extended it by another six months to give us the opportunity to sit down and negotiate the minimum wage and the adjustment that will come with it.”

Assuring the protesters that he would deliver their message to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Makinde appealed for calmness from the protesters, saying: “So, I have appealed to them though I know that this protest is their right. I will pass the letter they gave to me to the President.

“I know there is hunger and anger in the land, but the solution is still for us to pull together.”

Sulaimon Olanrewaju
Special Adviser (Media) to Oyo State Governor
February 27, 2024.

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