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Low turnout at NLC HQ as workers shun protest

Low turnout at NLC HQ as workers shun protest
May 18
09:45 2016

The planned protest of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) may be receiving little attention from Nigerians.

The Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the NLC had resolved‎ to embark on an indefinite strike following the hike in the price of petrol from N86.5 to N145.

After a series of meetings between labour leaders and the government to resolve the impasse, no agreement was reached.

Hence, the union vowed to commence an industrial action and nationwide protests despite a court order restraining it from doing so.


But it‎ appears the decision has not gained traction.

When TheCable arrived at the headquarters of the NLC – venue of convergence for the protest – at 8:20am‎, only a handful of unionists brandishing NLC flags were seen.

Activities were also normal at the complex of the federal secretariat (head of service), and the ministry of foreign affairs.


Oga work dey well. Workers don they come since morning‎,” a security man told TheCable in response to an inquiry.

On Tuesday, the NLC faction led by Joe Ajaero entered into an agreement with the government to review the price of petrol and as well as look into the minimum wage.

The group also  distanced itself from the action.

Like Ajaero’s faction, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has also backed out of the industrial action. Bobboi Kaigama, president of the TUC, confirmed this on Wednesday.



The strike is also not gaining momentum in Lagos.

Apart from disturbances witnessed in the Fadeyi area of the state, people have been going about their normal activities.

Policemen and officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) dispersed NLC members who assembled at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja around 8am.

The protesters subsequently  regrouped outside the airport and formed a barricade which prevented commercial vehicles from gaining access to the airport, compounding the traffic situation on the ever busy road.


Citing the ruling of the National Industrial Court, Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos, barred NLC from proceeding with the strike action.

“It has become unlawful for any person or group to either disrupt free movement of people and vehicles or prevent normal business activities,” the governor said in a statement.


“Parents should warn their children and wards, particularly the vulnerable ones, not to allow themselves to be used or manipulated.”


However, the union was able to gain little attention in Kwara and Ondo states’ Its members staged protests on the streets.


The NLC blocked the road leading to the federal high court in Ilorin, Kwara state capital, and the entrance of some ministries. They also chased workers out of offices.

Some banks in the state did not also operate. A resident of the town narrated his experience.

“I was at the branch of GTB in Tanke Junction and everything was going on smoothly until some union members came to chase us away. The bank is not open at the moment, but activities are normal in other parts of the town. Students are going to school, and things are moving on well,” he told TheCable.

In Akure, Ondo capital, NLC members also blocked some major roads and picketed offices.

The federal government has warned workers not to partake in the exercise, directing permanent secretaries and heads of agencies to invoke the “no work, no pay” policy.


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