Tuesday’s indefinite strike by organized labor had a crippling effect on government and business operations in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and several states. The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress initiated the strike in protest of the alleged assault on NLC President Joe Ajaero in Imo State on November 1,Daily Trust reports.
Government activities across the FCT’s six area councils came to a standstill as workers joined the strike. Labor officials enforcing compliance even chased those who reported to the FCT Administration secretariat out of their offices. Similarly, the Federal Secretariat saw only a few civil servants, as labor leaders compelled workers to leave their offices.
Public schools and hospitals in Kwali, Kuje, Gwagwalada, and Abaji area councils were deserted, and the Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area Councils’ secretariats were locked. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company headquarters in Abuja was deserted as labor leaders prevented workers from entering.
The strike also impacted commercial activities at seaports in Lagos, with port users at Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port barred, and freight forwarders prevented from entering. Critics, including Comrade One Monije, spokesperson for the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, questioned the justification for the strike, highlighting potential adverse consequences such as increased rents and demurrage.
In Niger State, public schools and offices closed in compliance with the strike, leading to students returning home. In Kaduna, labor officials chased workers out of the State Secretariat and the House of Assembly Complex. Government agencies, banks, and the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company were deserted.
The strike also affected Benue, Ekiti, Ondo, Kano, Delta, Bauchi, Adamawa, Ebonyi, and Edo States, with schools, banks, and public offices left deserted. However, there were dissenting voices questioning the necessity of a nationwide shutdown over an isolated incident.
In Edo State, bank customers were stranded, and financial institutions joined the strike. The Congress of Nigeria University Academics (CONUA), University of Benin chapter, distanced itself from the NLC strike, calling it a “one-man decision.” In Taraba, government offices and schools showed little compliance with the strike.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) appealed to organized labor to suspend the strike, emphasizing its potential adverse effects on economic growth. Lagos, Rivers, and Oyo States experienced partial compliance, with schools, banks, and state secretariats remaining open while federal institutions, including courts, universities, and ports, were affected. In Kano, Bayero University suspended ongoing exams and academic activities in solidarity with the strike.