National Strike Halts Nigeria: Economic and Social Activities Paralyzed Countrywide

By Joke Kujenya

A NATIONWIDE strike launched by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has brought economic activities across Nigeria to a grinding halt.

The industrial action began after failed negotiations with the Federal Government over an increase in the minimum wage to living wage and other pressing labour issues.

In a comprehensive and detailed account of the national strike’s impact across various states in Nigeria, highlighting the specific disruptions in different sectors and regions, the actions taken by labour unions, the response from government officials, and the broader implications for the country’s economy and daily life, all present a very gloomy picture nationwide.

Economic disruptions have spread across the states with workers in Port Harcourt airport under the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) began their blockade at 7:00 am, forcing passengers to walk to the terminal.

Although few flights remained operational, security presence was significantly heightened.

Also, in Kaduna, the strike impact seem severe as labour officials locked out students from the Kaduna Polytechnic and workers from the National Ear Care Centre and the State Secretariat, effectively shutting down governmental operations.

Not left out are financial institutions feeling the brunt as employees were denied entry to their offices.

Kaduna Trade Union Congress Chairman, Abdullahi Danfulani, emphasized that the unions would maintain their stance until the government meets their demands.

The strike’s ripple effects were felt in Edo State, Benin City, where the NLC and TUC members shut the State Secretariat, stopping civil servants from accessing their offices despite the recent minimum wage increase to N70,000.

Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria, government offices in Alausa were locked, and business activities were notably disrupted. Typical Monday morning bustling in the metropolis and streets were eerily quiet, cutting a stark contrast to the hurried scenes. Scores of students were also sighted by JKNewsMediareturning home, and when questioned, they said their school authorities told them to go back to their parents pending further notice.

Neighbouring Ogun and Oyo states saw similar shutdowns. The Federal Secretariat in Abeokuta and the NLC Secretariat in Ibadan were locked, with teachers turning away students from schools in compliance with the strike order.

In Cross River State, public services came to a standstill, with schools, banks, and fuel stations all adhering to the strike mandate as the state’s NLC chairman criticized the FG’s hard stance on labour issues, citing a lack of realistic policies affecting workers.

ASUU Joins the Strike

At the tertiary institutions, tThe Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) joined the strike, further complicating the educational landscape.

ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke directed university lecturers to participate in solidarity with the labour unions in a move to aggravate concerns over the academic calendar, already disrupted by frequent industrial actions.

Parliamentary and Aviation Sector Disruptions

Also in the drove are members of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) which, on Monday morning, blocked the National Assembly’s entrance and exit points, creating significant delays for legislative activities.

Passengers are also left stranded and facing difficulties accessing the terminal due to the blockade by striking workers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Power Grid Shutdown Intensifies the Crisis

On the height of the labour unions bickering in the shutting down of the national grid as reported by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) since around 2:19 am due to the strike.

Workers at various transmission substations were driven out, leading to a nationwide blackout. The TCN is attempting to recover and stabilize the grid but faces ongoing obstructions from the labor union.

Aviation Unions Poised to Join the Action

Aviation unions, including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), announced their readiness to join the strike in a joint statement issued confirming the withdrawal of services at all Nigerian airports starting June 3, with international flights to follow.

FG’s Slow Response and Non-promising Outlook

Despite several meetings with the FG tripartite, executives of the National Assembly and other stakeholders, labour unions, labour unions say the strike will continue to disrupt daily life and economic activities across Nigeria, as the government’s next steps remain crucial.

Insisting the national action goes on and a living wage is possible, the union, on its X page writes: “We don’t have the right to call off the industrial action approved by our organs. Thus, the action will continue while we will have a meeting with our organs to relate to them your proposals.” as it told the leaders of the National Assembly on Sunday evening during their meeting that ended stalemated till the dead of the night.

They also expressed their wonder at the inability of the government to resolve the wage dispute and address labour concerns over the years, and which has led to significant social and economic fallout.

Unions said that on their part, there are no signs of backing down, and until the government yields to their demands, the country will continue to face prolonged instability unless a compromise is reached.

NUPENG Joins Nationwide Strike: Fuel Disruption Imminent

Indications have also emerged that in a move of solidarity with the NLC, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has issued a directive for all its members across the country to adhere to the indefinite strike action beginning June 3rd, 2024.

This decision, communicated through a circular dated June 1st, 2024, and signed by Comrade Afolabi Olawole, the Secretary General of the Union, underscores NUPENG’s commitment to the labor movement’s cause.

The directive, addressed to all NUPENG branches and members, urges immediate compliance with the NLC’s call for a nationwide strike.

Expressing concern over the FG’s handling of living wage negotiations, the circular highlights the need for collective action to address the challenges faced by Nigerian workers.

“As a Union, we are deeply concerned and disturbed with the insensitive and irresponsive attitude of the FG to the very critical issue of negotiating a new reasonable wage for Nigerian workers,” the circular states.

With this directive, NUPENG signals its readiness to halt all operations related to oil and gas installations, distribution, and marketing of petroleum products.

The Union emphasizes its unwavering solidarity with the NLC and calls on leaders at all levels to ensure full compliance with the strike directive.

“Our solidarity remains constant for the Union makes us strong,” the circular concludes, echoing the resolve of NUPENG to stand united with fellow workers in pursuit of fair labor practices and just wages.

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4 thoughts on “National Strike Halts Nigeria: Economic and Social Activities Paralyzed Countrywide

  1. It’s a shame that the Common man NLC professes to be fighting for that is bearing the brunt of the Strike. Why doesn’t NLC insist on a downward review of Lawmakers’ salaries & allowances for a start? They are Charlatans feeding fat at our expense.

    1. Ma, downward review of NASS members’ salaries and allowances had been advocated for in recent years’ past; but they don’t listen to reasoning once they are all in government. Thank you for your comment Ma.

  2. The strike is long overdue. Please, be specific.
    We should learn to be realistic and desist from insinuations that portray us apologists.

    You removed subsidy without fallback measures.

    With each passing day, you increase tariffs on all necessities of life.

    You have bluntly refused to repair our refineries.

    A liter of PMS is now N750.00- N800.00.

    You keep importing luxury items for yourselves.

    Local food prices have gone beyond the reach of the ordinary man.

    Yet, the worker’s salary remains stagnant for centuries.

    In one year, Nigeria has retrogressed 50 years.

    Haba! Haba!!Haba!!!!!!!!!!

    1. You are so much on point sir. I just hope they listen cause they can obviously see these pains Nigerians are going through. I wonder why they just choose to be insensitive to the plights of the people. Yet, they will come back in 2027, and majority will still flock after them. So sad.

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