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NLC Strike Flops, Partial Compliance In States

The nationwide strike action called by the Ayuba Wabba faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) took off yesterday across the country with mixed responses. The industrial dispute was not effective in Lagos and Abuja. Commercial activities went on unhindered in both cities and many states.

While business activities were crippled in some states of the federation such as Cross River, Plateau, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Imo, Kwara and Delta, there was partial compliance in some other states such as Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Ogun, Edo, Ebonyi, Benue and few other states. But in some other states such as Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Adamawa and most states in the northern part of the country, there was no strike action at all.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joe Ajaero-led faction of the NLC had pulled out of the scheduled strike following meetings with the representatives of the Federal Government, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Babachir David Lawal.

While Ajaero and his group opted for a committee to resolve the fuel price increase impasse, the TUC was not convinced and opted not to go for the strike. In most parts of the country monitored by New Telegraph’s correspondents yesterday, even though many of the people were either angry at the non-payment of salaries and the increase in price of fuel, many did not believe in a strike action.

Wabba, who led the protest in Abuja, decried the continued importation of fuel into Nigeria by successive governments. He said it was a sign of corruption that the country continues to import fuel till date. He added:

“As continuous importation of fuel will be used to enslave Nigerians, the naira will be devaluated and prices will keep going up and there will be no end to it. “We have refineries that have stayed up to 110 years and with regular maintenance, refineries can be fixed and production capacity can also be upgraded for local consumption.

“But because of corruption, we have refused to do so and with the issue of subsidy, importation will actually reduce what is being produced in the country.” In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the labour alleged that three members of its leadership were arrested by the police.

In Edo, the state government warned that any worker who shunned work under the guise of strike would forfeit his or her pay. The government, in a statement by the Head of Service, Mrs. Gladys Idahor, said, “all workers are expected to be at their duty posts.

Any worker who stays away from work will forfeit his or her pay as ‘no work, no pay’ will be strictly enforced. Yesterday also, the Senate told its Committee on Labour and Productivity to intervene in the on-going impasse between the organised labour and the Federal Government.

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, explained that the purpose of the executive session was to discuss the Federal Government- Labour face off and intervene to end the crisis as quickly as possible.

He noted that the Upper Chamber had directed the Mohammed Nazif-led Committee on Labour to interface with the two groups in the conflict, to ensure early resolution of all contentious issues in dispute.
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