Protests in major cities as NLC strike begins








Workers in most states of the federation on Wednesday shunned a directive of a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress to embark on an indefinite strike because of the increase inside the pump rate of petrol from N86.50 to N145 by the Federal authorities.

Regardless of this, however, labour and civil society organisations held rallies in most states to press domestic their call for that the Federal authorities have to reverse the fee hike.

There were protests on Wednesday in Lagos, Abuja, Osun, Benin and Kwara amongst different states in compliance with the directive of the NLC, which declared a nationwide on Tuesday
Talks among the authorities and organised labour collapsed on Tuesday night time as representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress walked out of a meeting with a Federal government’s delegation, led by the Secretary to the authorities of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal.

President of a faction of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, had given the move beforehand for the strike to begin on Wednesday after the parties in the negotiation failed to reach an amicable agreement.

The Joe Ajaero-led NLC faction and the alternate Union Congress, led with the aid of Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, had distanced themselves from the strike whilst the countrywide Union of Petroleum and herbal gas workers in addition to the Petroleum and herbal gas Senior association of Nigeria had remaining week additionally stated the unions would not be a part of the strike.

The Ajaero faction had in advance within the afternoon on Tuesday attended a separate assembly with the government and indicated that it would not participate inside the strike.

In the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday, civil servants became up for work at exclusive ministries, departments and companies.

Our correspondents, who went round the FCT, found that the Federal Secretariat became a beehive of sports, contrary to the directive of the Wabba-led NLC.

At the ministries of finance, price range and country wide planning as well as that of industry, alternate and investment, employees suggested for paintings.

Apart from civil servants, banks and other workplaces have been opened for commercial enterprise as early as 8am while considered one of our correspondents visited the places.

Deposit cash banks, located within the critical business District, consisting of warranty accept as true with financial institution, United financial institution for Africa, First metropolis Monument bank, First bank of Nigeria p.C, Zenith bank percent and Skye financial institution percent recorded large number of patronage from clients.

An reputable in the ministry of finance, who spoke to The PUNCH said some of her colleagues on the ministry as of Tuesday night time had been discussing on the smartphone on whether to obey the directive to move on strike or now not.

She stated, “you know that there has been this division many of the labour unions as to what the course of the economic movement would take.

‘‘other than this, there was a court docket order preventing the strike; so, nobody became completely sure of what to do.

“as a result of this department, we don’t know what to do and given that it is the authorities that gave me activity and no longer the NLC, I should obey the directive to document to responsibility because we have a central authority that does not tolerate nonsense.”

The Director, facts, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Dambatta, informed one in every of our correspondents on the cellphone that workers on the ministry boycotted the NLC’s directive.

He said, “We didn’t join the strike that was called by means of the NLC. In truth, in case you come to the ministry now, you’ll assume nowadays is Monday because of the level of activities going on.”

attempts to get the remark of the spokesperson for the ministry, Mr Charles Dafe, had been now not successful as calls and a textual content message sent to his mobile did no longer join as of the time of filing this document.

At the aviation ministry beneath the Federal Ministry of Transportation, maximum people of the organisation turned up for paintings.

The spokesperson for the ministry, Mr. James Odaudu, said the ministry’s people did not be part of any commercial movement.

“we are all here. Paintings goes on here and there’s nothing like strike,” he said.

People additionally resumed for paintings in massive numbers at the Federal Ministry of electricity, Works and Housing, Nigerian country wide Petroleum organization, Federal Ministry of Petroleum assets and at the Nigerian strength Regulatory fee.

At fitness establishments and hospitals within the FCT, such as the Federal clinical Centre, countrywide health center and standard Hospitals in Asokoro and Garki, workers have been busy getting to sufferers.

No strike in Lagos, Kaduna, Bauchi, Niger, Rivers, Anambra, Bayelsa, Niger

inside the Lagos nation authorities secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, people regarded oblivious of the decision to embark on strike through the NLC.

The secretariat was complete of sports on Wednesday as many civil servants went approximately their normal business.

One in every of them, who selected to be identified sincerely as Dare, informed our correspondent that it was the feeling of most of the workers that the labour unions have been polarised and might no longer be capable of shop any employee who obeyed from authorities’s wrath.

He stated, “authorities had bought they all. We don’t need extra trouble; that is why lots of us got here.”

In Kaduna country on Wednesday, people avoided the strike order with the aid of the NLC whilst the labour in the state did now not preserve any rally.

Also, the northern socio-cultural employer, the Arewa Consultative forum, said the Federal authorities’s deregulation coverage turned into in order.

Banks, economic establishments, schools as well as workplaces of the Kaduna electricity Distribution company had been opened for business.

The nation secretariat, housing all ministries inside the nation, changed into opened to people.

Considered one of our correspondents determined that workers were running in diverse offices at the secretariat.

But, the Chairman of the Kaduna country chapter of the NLC, Adamu Ango, said they avoided demonstration to avert bloodshed.

He said there has been a plan through a few faceless humans to infiltrate the movement to assault the protesters.

He delivered, “Why we did not lead a procession is to keep away from bloodshed due to the fact a violent group has been hired to throw stones at us and cause a semblance of a fight.

The ACF in a declaration by way of its countrywide exposure Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim, in Kaduna, stated the deregulation of the downstream oil sector became a modern coverage.

It referred to as at the Federal government now not handiest to offer palliative measures that might cushion the impact of the surprising withdrawal of gasoline subsidy, but also channel the profits of the deregulation into infrastructural improvement.

The statement examine, “That the Federal authorities’s new gasoline pricing and deliver framework, which permits independent marketers and any Nigerian entity to source their personal foreign exchange and import petrol is a welcome revolutionary policy.

“ACF absolutely helps the overall deregulation of the downstream petroleum area so as to sell competition and private participation.”

The PUNCH amassed that members of the educational workforce Union of Universities met last night at the Ahmadu Bello college, Zaria, in Kaduna state to take a decision on whether to comply with the NLC order or shun it.

In his response, the public relations Officer of a Kaduna-based non-governmental enterprise, the Southern Kaduna Indigene Progressives discussion board, Luka Binniyat, stated the strike inside the state might not be successful because of poor mobilisation through the NLC.

Also, civil servants in Bauchi kingdom on Wednesday defied the directive of the NLC for all workers to stay at home.

One among our correspondents, who went round to several authorities ministries, departments and groups inside the nation town, observed that civil servants within the nation resumed inside the offices as standard.

At the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of finances and making plans, Bauchi Radio organization, Bauchi nation inner revenue service, and many ministries placed at the nation secretariat, maximum people have been seen at their duty posts.

Banks, motor parks, stores and plenty of commercial enterprise offices within the town opened for sports.

Citizens of Bauchi have been additionally seen going approximately their ordinary activities.

A civil servant at the Bauchi kingdom internal revenue carrier, who spoke on circumstance of anonymity with considered one of our correspondents, stated the strike might fail.

That strike will now not work whether or not in Bauchi or elsewhere in Nigeria.”

speakme on the problem, the Chairman, Joint Negotiation Council of the NLC in Bauchi kingdom, Aliyu Mohammed, told The PUNCH in a phone interview that the union inside the country had complied with the directive of the national frame and had joined the strike.

He alleged that thugs were sponsored to disrupt the peace within the state.

Mohammed introduced, “You saw what befell the day past (Tuesday) when thugs were sponsored and despatched out to disrupt the peace inside the state.

“Labour, as a accountable company, has to consider the delicate nature of our country and take actions as a way to not compound what occurred the previous day.”

In Anambra nation, banks, colleges, judiciary employees and a few tertiary establishments kept away from the strike.

The country chairman of the Judiciary personnel Union of Nigeria, Mr Mark Ifezue, said it was flawed to embark on strike when a court docket in the land had granted an injunction preventing the strike.

Banks within the country, as early as 8am, had commenced getting to clients as if nothing changed into at stake.

A bank authentic, who did now not want to be named, stated they did not have any sign from their union approximately any strike.

“We don’t recognise whatever approximately the strike. We didn’t get any signal from our union directing any strike,” the banker added.

Each public and personal schools in the state opened for commercial enterprise.

Mrs Chigozie Eze on the network faculty, Agulu, said, “no person has informed us formally approximately any strike. Perhaps by means of the next day (Thursday) things may additionally trade; however nowadays, we are busy with magnificence paintings. Absolutely everyone is busy accomplishing continuous evaluation tests.”

on the Nnamdi Azikiwe college and the Federal college of education, Umunze, regular instructional sports were going on while our correspondent visited.

On the spot past Chairman of ASUU, Nnamdi Azikiwe college, Prof. Ike Odimegwu, informed one in every of our correspondents that ASUU had joined the strike.

He expressed marvel that academic sports have been occurring, on campus.

On the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, there has been partial compliance with the commercial action.

Even as a few people attended to work, others did now not in compliance with the NLC strike.

At the kingdom secretariat, people had assembled as early as 9am however had been no longer operating.

They have been visible in clusters discussing the strike.

Addressing a number of the workers at the NULGE secretariat, the NLC chairman in the country, Mr Jerry Nnubia, advised the people to persevere of their war to make certain that the Federal government reverted petrol pump fee to N86 according to litre.

He stated no employee have to be fearful of the authorities’s danger of “no work, no pay.”

Nnubia said, “we are used to such risk; so, no one have to panic over it.

The TUC inside the nation had dissociated itself from the strike.

In a circular, signed by way of its kingdom chairman, Ifeanyi Okechukwu, the congress directed workers from stage 7 and above to disregard the strike and be at their respective duty posts as required.

In Bayelsa country, workers defied the strike order and suggested for work as common.

The main secretariat and workplaces in Yenegoa, the country capital, opened for work as civil servants reported early to paintings.

Banks additionally opened for commercial enterprise.

Some of the workers, who became up for work, stated they have been no longer sure if the strike was nevertheless preserving, stating that they had been yet to get an replace on the strike from the NLC.

But, courts inside the country capital did not open just because the state residence of meeting reportedly did no longer sit.

A civil servant in the kingdom Ministry of ladies Affairs, Mr. Tonye Ayama, said his workplace turned into open for paintings.

He stated, “sure, we’re here to work but just few people have suggested due to the NLC strike over the removal of fuel subsidy and hike in fee of petroleum product.

“though right now, we’re in the workplace, nothing serious goes on, we are just striking on.

“The NLC within the nation has but to address us; so, we are still waiting to hear from the labour union. If they are saying there may be strike, then we can move again to our homes.”

another civil servant, Mr William Agama, in the Ministry of Works, additionally stated his workplace was opened for paintings however said they would vacate workplace if the labour stated the strike become maintaining.

The country TUC Chairman, Mr. Tari Dounana, said the union became nevertheless combating the coolest and simply combat at the fuel charge boom.

Dounana, but, advised organised labour to be extra united on the problem that touched people.

In Niger country, one of our correspondents, who went spherical Minna, the kingdom capital, located that workers in the state high court docket complex, the country secretariat and banks have been in their offices notwithstanding the indefinite strike order.

One of the civil servants inside the state, Dikko Isah, informed The PUNCH that the national leadership of the NLC have been “critically unserious”, decrying the incapability of the labour leaders to agree at the countrywide level.

Isah said, “The national body isn’t always telling the country the fact and that is why the strike cannot work in some states especially in Niger nation.”

“it’s miles shameful that Labour of all and sundry ought to permit itself to be used by people who do now not recognize what industrial action is all about to smash the coolest paintings they have started out.”

The nation Chairman of the NLC, Idris Ndako, said the strike would begin on Thursday in the kingdom.

He stated, “you may see some people in their places of work nowadays but that does not mean that the strike has now not started out.”

Niger country Governor, Abubakar Bello, however, cautioned the nation workers to be patient, bearing in mind that authorities was still negotiating with their leaders on the country wide stage for their very own betterment.

Bello, who spoke via his Senior special Assistant on Media, Mr. Jide Orintunsin, said authorities had captured within the 2016 price range over N500bn to enforce palliative measures.

Rivers people stop labour from locking secretariat

there has been a mild drama at the Rivers country secretariat on Wednesday as employees stopped the leadership of the NLC inside the state from locking the entrance to the secretariat.

The nation NLC chairman, Mrs. Beatrice Itubo, and some executive contributors of the union had stormed the secretariat at approximately 7.30am with the intention of locking up the main entrance to the location in protest against the growth within the pump rate of petrol.

But some of the workers, who had been on the secretariat as early as 7am, averted her from locking the gate.

Supported by way of the top of Civil service within the state, Mr. Rufus Godwins, the civil servants made it clean that they have been now not going to enroll in the strike declared by way of the NLC.

Godwins, who become with some protection operatives, advised the NLC leaders in the state that the people would no longer enroll in the directive on strike, adding that labour at the national stage became nevertheless negotiating with the Federal government.

He reminded the NLC group of the lifestyles of a court docket injunction acquired by the attorney widespread of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, restraining labour union from embarking at the proposed strike.

“all and sundry who wants to observe NLC have to be aware that the country authorities will introduce ‘no-paintings-no-pay policy. So, anybody who follows the strike will now not be paid,” he stated.

The NLC group had earlier visited Akpara Secondary school and Rumuokwuta ladies Secondary faculty in Obio/Akpor LGA.

However, the kingdom Chairman of the TUC, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, had earlier issued a statement in Port Harcourt, indicating that the TUC within the kingdom could no longer be part of the strike.

Oyo workers, maintain rally, divided

contributors of the organised labour in Oyo kingdom have referred to as on the Federal government to opposite the charge of petrol for the sake of the suffering Nigerians.

The NLC, ASUU, Nigeria Union of Pensioners, TUC, Joint movement the front, Joint Negotiating Council and others made the declaration for the duration of a rally organised in Ibadan to condemn the FG over the new price of the product.

On the country secretariat, our correspondent determined that civil servants within the country defied the nationwide strike by means of turning up for paintings as early as 7am.

A number of the people mentioned the department amongst leaders of labour unions as motives for their selection.

It become also amassed that a number of the workers determined to shun the strike due to the fact they have been paid one month earnings out of the revenue arrears owed them by using the country authorities on Tuesday.

At the same time as addressing individuals of the unions, the NLC chairman in the nation, Waheed Olojede, who led the rally round the metropolis, stated it changed into critical for the FG to have a rethink over its choice to hike the charge of the product, thinking about the complication that Nigerians have been already going through.

He said, “the placement of the Nigerian people now, that’s being conveyed with the aid of labour unions, is that the FG have to cross returned to the drafting board to do a re-think and reverse the rate of gas from N145 to N86.”

The rally, which commenced on the nation headquarters of the NLC, passed although locations like Gate, Oje, Beere, Orita-Merin, Dugbe, J. Allen, Mokola Roundabout and the nation secretariat.

Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners within the South-West, Lateef Adegoke, and Secretary of the union, Segun Abatan, said the type of change Nigerians voted for changed into no longer the equal that Buhari authorities had supplied them.

Ebonyi civil servants

Civil servants in Ebonyi country on Wednesday embarked on a low-key strike in compliance with the directive of the NLC.

However, there has been confusion many of the staff in the state following a counter-directive, urging public servants to brush aside the NLC order to embark on strike.

The counter order become allegedly issued by means of a set tagged ‘Junior employees Union of Nigeria, Ebonyi state chapter, that was stated to have emerge as major within the state in June, 2015.

The situation ended in some government offices establishing for sports even as few workplaces had been locked.

One in every of our correspondents located that the federal secretariat at Nnorom avenue, Abakaliki, and other federal-owned offices were a number of the few places of work that were locked at the same time as the employees have been seen out of doors discussing in agencies.

The counter directive became communicated to people thru a announcement by way of the chief of the JWU, Uchenna Uguru, calling on workers to dismiss the NLC directive.

On the Ebonyi state excessive court premises, it changed into discovered that the courts didn’t sit down.

“We just received labour round this morning, directing us to proceed on strike,” a worker stated.

NLC paralyses Kwara civil provider

The Kwara kingdom chapter of the NLC on Wednesday morning locked the gates of the Kwara country secretariat and ministries, especially in Ilorin, the Kwara country capital, to put into effect the strike known as via the Wabba-led NLC.

The union contributors also barricaded the roads leading to the kingdom secretariat while a detachment of cops have been stationed at a junction at Ahmadu Bello manner leading to the secretariat and the country Judiciary complicated.

Many civil servants, who had been taken unawares, by way of the improvement and had said for paintings within the morning, have been stranded even as some of them parked their motors near the gates of the secretariat and mentioned the improvement in corporations.

Our correspondent also gathered that some of the state owned tertiary establishments joined the strike. Our correspondent also sighted a number of the union members as they stayed near the nation NLC workplace at Lajorin avenue, Ilorin while implementing the strike.

The kingdom NLC chairman, Mr. Yekini Agunbiade, at the same time as addressing the workers and reporters in Ilorin, said the kingdom chapter was dedicated to maintaining the strike called by way of the country wide leadership of NLC.

Nigeria is broke –FG

but the Federal authorities on Wednesday said the choice to growth the pump price of top class Motor Spirit from N86 to N145 consistent with litre become one of the painful modifications and decisions that should be taken due to the fact Nigeria is broke.

The Minister of facts, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this while briefing kingdom house correspondents on the final results of the Federal govt Council’s meeting presided over via President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mohammed become joined on the briefing by way of the Minister of strength, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige; and the attorney-standard of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

The minister likened Nigeria’s state of affairs to a case of someone, who were given a pay cut and needed to regulate to the current fact in terms of his spending.

The minister stated, “The present day trouble isn’t simply about subsidy elimination. It is about that Nigeria is broke. Pure and easy!

“it is like any individual who has been incomes N100,000 a month and he’s faced with a state of affairs where his enterprise says henceforth, he can be incomes N10,000 a month. He might want to make some very painful selections and some very painful modifications.

Perms secs to ensure employees’ punctuality as Senate intrude

in the meantime, the Federal government, on Wednesday, directed permanent secretaries to make sure that all civil servants complied with the directive to record punctually to work daily and need to no longer participate in the strike.

A declaration with the aid of the Director of Communications inside the office of the head of Civil service of the Federation, Haruna Imrana, said the directive became “in response to the pronouncement via the TUC calling off the economic motion” over the increase inside the rate of petrol.

Also, the Senate, on Wednesday, directed its committee on Labour to constantly interface with the Federal authorities and the NLC group currently on the negotiation desk over the hike in fuel rate.

The higher chamber took the choice after a 35-minute closed-door consultation presided over via the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu.

The committee on labour, headed through Senator Mohammed Nasif, became specifically directed to begin immediately speak with the negotiating crew to make certain an early decision of the disaster.

Ekweremadu, at the same time as reading the resolution of the Senate stated, “We also mandated the committee on Labour, below the chairmanship of Mohammed Nasif, to hold to interface with both authorities and labour for an early decision of all of the subjects.”

combat corruption, make refineries work

but, the NLC has referred to as on Buhari to address the hassle of inherent corruption inside the oil area and reverse the selection to growth the gasoline pump price.

The President of the NLC, Wabba, said, whilst addressing people, who were protesting the boom of the gasoline pump price from N86 and N86.50k to N145, in front of the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, that the authorities had a responsibility to make the four refineries inside the country to paintings in preference to opting for 90 according to cent importation of gas.

He additionally stated that there was a excessive opportunity for the refineries to be upgraded to produce refined merchandise for domestic wishes.

Even though the NLC organised a protest march from the Labour residence through the Federal Secretariat to the famous Berger spherical about, people grew to become out in their offices for work opposite to the directive to stay at domestic.

Masses of air passengers had been stranded on Wednesday once they had been held up in site visitors for hours by a educate of protesters on the Airport street, Ikeja, Lagos.

One in every of our correspondents found that some of them, which include foreigners, hooked up bikes with their visiting bags, at the same time as others trekked from the FAAN roundabout to the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.

While a number of them faulted the protest, others said they supported the purpose of the protesting people, asking the Federal authorities to accede to their requests.

One of folks that hostile the concept, Mr Gbolahan Thomas, who was hiking along with his traveling luggage, stated there has been no foundation for the protest.

The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, become said to have urged the protesters to be peaceful and later deployed some officers of the state command to screen the technique to make certain it did not degenerate.

The President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Malachy Ugwumadu, said the protest become organised by way of civil rights corporations, adding that Nigerians had the rights to non violent demonstration.

He said, “The good sized majority of Nigerians aren’t participants of the Nigeria Labour Congress. Today, as unemployment rate stands, i’m positive not up to 30 consistent with cent individuals of society belonged to labour. And so, Nigerians have the constitutional rights to freely bring together. And there may be not anything to stop us. We have defied their propaganda and mischief that the Nigerian humans are not united against oppression.”

The President of the ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, stated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had said there was no subsidy, wondering the way it all of sudden occurred.

The Secretary of the Joint movement pressure, Abiodun Aremu, described the ex parte injunction, forbidding labour from going on strike as irresponsible.

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