Strike update: Shutdown hits Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Kaduna

Eme Offiong in Calabar and Asma'u Halilu in Kaduna

0
395
Deserted premises of the State Ministry of Health, Calabar

Public and private enterprises have shutdown in compliance with the Nigeria Labour Congress’ national one-week strike, to press for a new minimum wage.

Government offices, schools, financial institutions within the two southern Nigerian States of Cross River and Akwa Ibom, were closed to the public, while different teams from the NLC went round to enforce the strike.

In Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital city, southern Nigeria, children went to school and were returned home by security personnel since the teachers stayed away.

The main entrances to government offices and banks were on lock-down, while customers had access to ATM galleries.

It was no different in Cross River State as all public and private schools, some major businesses and market places complied with NLC’s directive.

However, in Calabar metropolis, State Government workers shut down services partially on Wednesday, and totally closed down on Thursday.

Though some workers declined to comment, the Cross River State NLC Chairman, John Ushie explained that the union was on an enforcement drive to ensure total compliance.

According to Ushie: “The strike is total and we are moving round to monitor and ensure that there is total in Cross River. There is no work, we are waiting because the government promised us that we will be paid the new minimum wage this September and they have renege on their promise.

“So, pending further directives, we are still going on with the strike. In Cross River State, the Governor has not said he will not pay. But, 21 States have indicated interest to comply. All we are asking is for government to implement the new minimum wage of 56,000 naira”, stated Ushie.

Another union leader, Mr. Okar Ibor, hinted that the union was moving to fuel stations to enforce compliance as well as shut down any market place within Calabar metropolis.

As at the time of this report, the NLC monitoring team had driven into the one of Nigeria’s foremost missionary schools, Hope Waddell Training Institute, established by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria in 1885, to enforce compliance.

Kaduna

Kaduna metropolis recorded a partial compliance on the second day of the national strike.

Our correspondent gathered that, some of the civil servants went about normal duties in their offices in Kaduna.

During a visit to the Kaduna State secretariat at about 10 am, people were seen trooping into the secretariat complex for their daily routine.

A different scenario was exhibited at the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA where staff were prevented by the Labour Task Force from having access into the premises, as the gate to the building was under lock and key.

However, most banks in the city also observed the sit-at-home order, while a few were fully operational.

The banks that operated include: Union Bank and First Bank which are both located on Yakubu Gowon Way, Kaduna.

In opinions sampled by our correspondent, some civil servants  said the strike was long overdue, adding that, the leadership of Labour had shown some level of maturity in handling the issue.

They also urged the union to be firm in their position by taking decisions that would make an impact on workers.

The workers, however, urged the federal government to yield to the call of the civil servants by doing the needful.

The Kaduna State Chapter of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), said it had mobilised its members to join in the nationwide strike.

The State TUC Chairman, Shehu Mohammed said at a news briefing that the TUC National secretariat had already directed them to get prepared for the action.

“We will comply by the directive of the National body, so we are on standby. We are just waiting for further directive of the TUC national body to comply immediately“, Shehu said.