NLC, TUC Nationwide Strike Records Mixed Compliance In States


The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, nationwide strike recorded mixed compliance across the states, yesterday. While some states were shut down with banks, public schools, courts and others shut down, some states recorded partial compliance and a few did not comply.

The directives of the two labour bodies were carried out in Lagos, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Kebbi, and Edo among others.

In Kano, banks and schools were shut as the government suspended qualifying examinations. Also schools were shut in Osogbo, the Osun State capital with the police beefing up security to avoid breakdown of law and order

In Imo, there was partial compliance as banks opened for business.

However, workers shunned the industrial action in Enugu and Abuja, with Labour leaders saying they would ensure strike in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, today.

The two unions in the nation’s public universities disagreed over the strike. While the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, asked its members to join the strike, the ‘ Congress of University Academics, CONUA, directed its members to shun the action.

This is coming as the Organised Labour pooh-poohed claims by the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, that the ongoing nationwide strike was an ego trip intended to ‘blackmail the government.’ It insisted that the strike was not a personal matter affecting the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, as alleged.

On November 13, 2023, the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the labour unions, in Abuja, resolved to embark on the strike due to the alleged failure of the Federal Government to address issues affecting workers such as the minimum wage, insecurity, corruption, and poor governance.

Also, both unions said they had made some demands, which the government allegedly failed to address following the recent crisis in Imo that resulted in the brutalisation of Ajaero, and other members of the labour unions.

Apart from the brutalisation of Ajaero, other labour leaders, and journalists, other grievances of Organized Labour include outstanding salary arrears, unjust declaration of 11,000 workers as ghost employees, unsettled gratuities, non-compliance of N30,000 minimum wage act, and declaration of 10,000 pensioners as ghost retirees.

The Federal Government on November 13 warned both unions against embarking on their planned strike, saying it would amount to contempt of court.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, in a statement, said the government had obtained a restraining order from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria barring the unions from going ahead with the strike.

Labour leaders expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance on Day One, noting that the compliance level would be much better in the coming days.

As of yesterday among the major critical sectors that fully complied with the strike were workers in the Maritime sector who shut the Ports formations in Lagos, Rivers, Cross River and Delta states.

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN in compliance with the Labour directive, shutdown port operations at Apapa and Tin-can Island.

This is even as freight forwarders have called on the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy as well as the management of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC to ensure that terminal operators and shipping lines do not slam demurrage on them for the duration of the strike.

Similarly, workers in the Food, Beverage and Tobacco, Chemical and Non-metallic Products and the Construction sectors, fully complied.


The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, directed its members nationwide to join the industrial action via a circular by its General Secretary, Lumumba Okungbowa.

Speaking on the Day One of the strike, Deputy President of TUC, Dr Tommy Okon, said: “We are very happy about the level of compliance so far. Many workers received the notice from their unions very late yesterday (Monday). I can authoritatively tell you there will be 100 percent compliance in the coming days.”

No meeting with FG – TUC

Meanwhile, the President of TUC, Festus Osifo, has dismissed reports of any meeting with the Federal Government, saying “I have no knowledge of any meeting with the government for now.”

Banks, trains grounded as Lagos workers join strike

However, the strike recorded an impact in Lagos as banks and train service were grounded.

The Secretary General, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, Mr Segun Esan, told newsmen that the union was involved in the strike and no train was running as a result.

“In effect, therefore, all the workers of Nigerian Railway are duty-bound to join the nationwide strike action from zero-zero hour of Tuesday, 14th November, 2023 by staying back at home and away from their offices.

“All the offices, stations, workshops, and entire premises of the corporation remain locked and inaccessible from zero-zero hour of Tuesday, 14th November, 2023, till otherwise directed by the Congress,” Esan said.

Also, the President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions, Mr Oluwole Olusoji, said advice had been sent out to members on compliance, adding that members had been advised to ensure the safeguard of lives and property from people who might be used to take undue advantage of the situation.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds,” Olusoji said.

Join nationwide strike, ASUU directs members

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU wrote to all zonal coordinators and chairpersons of the union and directed them to mobilise members be mobilised for the strike in line with the NLC and TUC directives.

The letter which was signed by ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, was issued on Monday night.

The letter read in part:  “As an affiliate of NLC, all members of our union are hereby directed to join this action of NLC to protect the interest of Nigerian workers and the leadership of the union. Zonal coordinators and branch chairpersons should immediately mobilise our members to participate in the action. A people united, cannot be defeated.”

Don’t join strike, CONUA directs members

Conversely, CONUA directed its members not to join the strike.

In a statement by its President, Dr Niyi Sumonu, CONUA stated that the academic union was not communicated on the strike directive by the TUC which it sought to be an affiliate, noting that processes to become an affiliate of the TUC were yet to be completed, and the TUC had failed to communicate it on the directive to embark on strike.

“As at the moment of putting together this release, the TUC with whom CONUA submitted an affiliation request has not communicated this position on strike action to it. Distinguished comrades should therefore note that CONUA cannot be part of the strike action that is not communicated to it. In addition, the affiliation process with the TUC has not been officially established,” the statement read in part.

Public schools shut in Osogbo, police beef up security

Meanwhile, some public schools in Osogbo, Osun State, shut down operations in compliance with the strike directive, yesterday morning.

The students that had resumed at their various schools in the town were at about 9 am seen on the streets around Stadium, Ayetoro and West Bye-pass, Osogbo returning home.

During a visit to some schools within the metropolis, teachers were seen in their various offices after the students had been sent home.

Some of the schools visited include Fakunle High School, Osogbo, Saint James Grammar School and Adenle Grammar School also located in Ayetoro Area, Osogbo.

None of the teachers who were approached agreed to comment on record.

A few of them who spoke said they had resumed work only to be told of the commencement of strike by labour leaders.

‘’We couldn’t hold back the students when the labour leaders came around and asked us to shut down operations. The students have been released but many teachers are still around the premises,” a male teacher told  Vanguard.

Contacted, Osun NLC acting chairperson, Modupe Oyedele, said workers in the state complied fully with the strike directive, adding “Osun is in full compliance with the strike directive.”

Unusual presence of armed police operatives was observed at some strategic points in Osogbo in an apparent move to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

Police operatives were stationed at Lameco Junction, Old Garage and Olaiya areas of Osogbo. Economic activities were going on without hitches in the areas visited.

Banks, schools shut in Kano, govt suspends qualifying exams

In Kano, Primary and secondary schools, as well as tertiary institutions, joined the strike.

Primary and day secondary school pupils who went to school as early as 7.30 am were compelled to return home as they did not meet teachers in the schools.

The strike also affected operations in banks, hospitals, and other public places in the state.

Similarly, the Audu Bako State Secretariat, which houses most of the ministries, was closed even though some workers who were not aware of the strike reported for work in the morning but had to return home later.

Students in Bayero University Kano who are currently sitting for their first semester examinations were also affected by the strike as a number of them who went to the examination halls had to return to their respective hostels.

“Many students who were to sit for exams in the morning returned to their hostels disappointed because they could not see anybody in the examination halls,” a female student said.

Consequently, the Kano State Ministry of Education has suspended the 2023 Secondary Schools Qualifying Examination scheduled to take place today, until further notice.

A statement signed by the Director of Public Enlightenment of the Ministry, Balarabe Kiru, revealed that the suspension is compelled by the industrial action embarked upon by the NLC and TUC nationwide.

Workers defy directives, continue work in Abuja

However,  federal and private sector workers in Abuja all resumed their duty posts, yesterday morning, in defiance to the strike directives.

All offices at the Federal Secretariat,Abuja,were opened for work just as activities in and around the secretariat were in full swing.

There was no sign that any worker was absent from work on account of the strike.

At the Federal Ministry of Education, the Minister, Prof. Tahir Mamman, performed his activities as scheduled. In fact, he presided over the Pre-departure briefing of the 179 Bilateral Education Agreement, BEA, Scholars, who were awarded Russian scholarships for the 2023/2024 academic session.

At the Federal Ministry of Health, all workers were seen at work. The Minister, Prof. Ali Pate, Permanent Secretary, Kachollom Daju, and other senior staff of the ministry were at work when Vanguard visited.

A worker who pleaded anonymity, said he came because he was yet to be directed to stay off duty by labour leaders in the health sector.

“I would have complied if I had a directive to that effect by the labour leaders of our local branch. We can’t stay at home because we read on the pages of newspapers that NLC and TUC have declared strike. If the directive to that effect comes today, then you may not see me on duty tomorrow,” he said.

The same thing was observed at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. All workers in the ministry were on duty. Although the Minister, Dr Betta Edu, was yet to come to her office when  Vanguard  visited.

Workers who spoke, said although they cited the circular from the national secretariat of NLC directing that they stay off duty, they couldn’t obey since their local chapter did not act on the correspondence.

Some labour leaders were seen hanging around the Federal Secretariat discussing the strike issue and their next strategies to effect the directives of the national leadership of their unions.

Asked to speak on the ineffective strike directives, one of the labour leaders told  Vanguard  in confidence that they would affect the strike today.

Just like the federal government workers, private sector workers were seen in their various places of work.

Also banks located in and around the Federal Secretariat were all opened to business. Staff and customers were seen transacting business.

Businesses went on around the Federal Secretariat complex.

NLC,TUC, affiliates shutdown Kebbi

In Kebbi, economic activities were grounded and public offices were closed.

Kebbi State Chairman of NLC, comrade Murtala Usman, told newsmen that they joined the industrial action because the “Organised Labour is a family, therefore an injury to one is an injury to all hence our reason to halt economic activities in Kebbi State to ensure that justice is done to our amiable leader, Mr. Ajearo who was unjustly manhandled by suspected security agencies for pressing demands of workers in Imo State.”

He added all labour affiliates like National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM; judiciary Staff Union, JUSUN, and all other unions had complied with directive shutting offices and social facilities.

“Kebbi State remains shut till further directives from our mother union to do otherwise. So, I urge Nigerians and the people of the state to cooperate with us as we struggle to ensure demands of Nigerians are met.”

NLC paralyses activities in Edo, shut down public offices, others

The strike  recorded a huge success in Benin City, the Edo State capital as public schools, government offices, courts, some banks and other public places like the National Museum, the House of Assembly complex and others were shut by officials of the NLC.

Litigants were stranded at the entrance gates to the High Court Complex while some personnel did not also open the judges’ gates through which High Court judges enter their offices.

A lawyer, Mr. Afolabi Olayiwola, SAN, who couldn’t access the court premises said the strike was a sign of a failed system.

He expressed shock that despite a court order stopping the strike, judiciary workers still embarked on the strike.

“Ordinarily, the strike ought not to have been because there is a court order and if judiciary staff cannot obey a court order it shows it is a failed system and if it escalates it becomes a problem. If other sectors go on strike the judiciary arm ought not to have embarked on it as they are aware of the court order. That is where I am worried”

At the Benin Airport, an official said planes landed and took off and travellers were seen making their way into the airport to catch their flights to different destinations.

Banks along Akpakpava, Mission roads, Forestry and other areas were shut down with customers trying to get money from a few ATMs that dispensed cash.

Government schools in the GRA were shut as students were seen loitering around their schools.

A security officer at NPDC said the staff were complying with the strike with only essential workers allowed into the premises.

Also, Oredo, Egor and other local government secretariats visited in Benin City complied with the strike as workers in their numbers hung around the councils’ premises.

The Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma, branch of ASUU directed its members to comply with the directives of the NLC. Checks by  Vanguard  showed that there were skeletal activities in the campus as the students were seen preparing for their Computer Based Tests (CBT) which was to start yesterday and various offices were opened for normal activities.

But the CONUA, University of Benin chapter, distanced itself from the strike, describing it as a “one man decision.”

The Chairman of UNIBEN CONUA, Ishaq Osagie-Eweka, told journalists that CONUA is not an affiliate of the NLC, hence, it is not part of the protest. “I call on our members to go about their lawful duties for the overall best interest of the students.

“As a chapter, we shall not make any public statement regarding the sudden strike arising from one man’s decision, over his ill-conceived protest in Imo State that led to an alleged physical attack,” he said.

In Auchi, the headquarters of Etsako West LGA in Edo North, government offices and banks were closed to the public.

The closure of the State Secretariat was supervised by the chairman of Edo Chapter of the NLC, Odion Olaye with some workers and union executives seen within the complex, situated along Sapele Road, to ensure that members comply with the strike directives.

Also speaking, Comrade Alabi Precious, Chairman Edo State TUC Trade Union Congress said: “Our action was necessitated by the brutalization of the National President of NLC, Joe Ajaero and we are ready to get to the end of this matter.”

Ebonyi judiciary, university, banks shutdown

The Ebonyi State Judiciary, Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, FUNAI, Banks, and ministries in Abakaliki, were yesterday shut down for the nationwide strike.

There was 90 percent compliance to the strike, as many workers, including lawyers and bankers were stranded at the gate of the complex located at Water Works Road Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State.

The strike also paralyzed business activities in the state, especially those who trade inside the court premises. Academic activities at FUNAI and Ebonyi State University, EBSU were affected by the strike.

Speaking to newsmen in Abakaliki, the state chairman of the NLC, Prof. Egwu Ogugua said: “So far so good, our compliance to the strike is 90 percent, the Ochi-Udo secretariat is scanty, the Ebonyi judiciary is under lock and key, the banks are not functioning. It’s only Zenith Bank that is open but they are not open to customers.

“What happened in Imo State, especially what is happening in Nigeria is bad. We have been pushed to the wall, we have been crushed. The ruling class no longer believes that we exist. It’s like anarchy has begun and that’s the situation we see ourselves in Nigeria,” he said.



Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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