By Tope Sunday, Ilorin
The much-expected national industrial action declared by a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to kick against the increase in the pump price of petrol, experienced partial compliance in Kwara State, SECURITY MONITOR, can report.
In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital ,the day started with scepticism on the side of workers and residents of the state on whether there would be industrial action or not.
Many residents woke-up putting calls through to friends and relatives to inquire if the strike would go on as planned by the NLC.
The scepticism expressed following the court order obtained by the Attorney-General of the Federation,Abubakar Malami (SAN) from the National Industrial Court, restraining the organised labour from embarking on the strike.
As the information of the reality of the industrial action filtered in, primary school pupils and students of Secondary who have resumed for the day were turned back by their teachers while the schools were shot.
While all the Federal Government agencies and media houses in the state defiled the labour directive, the union, however, shut many state government establishments and schools across the state.
Many government buildings including Governor’s Office, State Secretariat and Ministries were equally picketed by the Labour leaders in the state to force workers to comply with the industrial action.
Our correspondent, who monitored the situation observed that Commercial banks and transporters shunned the industrial action as bank customers were seen moving in and out of banks within Ilorin metropolis while members of transport unions continued with their normal activities.
But the state’s Chairman of NLC, Comrade Yekeen Agunbiade, expressed satisfaction with the compliance of workers to the strike, saying the union was able to achieve over 50 percent compliance.
The feat, Agunbiade attributed it to his movement to all the ministries, adding that many workers in the state are still being owed many salary arrears.
“We have many workers supporting us now. Many of them have not collected salaries in the last five months, so they see it as an opportunity. We have got so many people to our side except the NARTO but by tomorrow we will have more people joining the protest like the motorcyclists,” Agunbiade said.
The state Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Kola Olumoh, however, distanced the Union from the ongoing strike.
Olumoh said the state TUC did not mobilise its members for the industrial action following the directive of the National body to shelve the strike.
He expressed the optimism that the negotiation with the Federal Government would yield fruitful results.
Also, this medium learnt that members of Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) in the state did not join NLC in the strike while the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) declared that it does not belong to NLC.
Our correspondent learnt that ASUU members at the University of Ilorin and Kwara State University, Malete, also did not participate in the ongoing strike.
While KWASU had commenced post Jamb towards admission process for the 2016/ 2017, Unilorin is running its 2nd semester academic session.
A lecturer at the Union, who did not want his name in print, said the leadership of the union in the institution did not give any directive regarding the strike.
The Vice President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA),
Dr Misbaudeen Olawale, said the association is not part of the Nigerian
Labour Congress (NLC).
“The NMA is not on strike as it is not part
of the NLC. We sympathize with the masses, as we realise that the increase can cause health problem to
Nigerians, ” he said.
Olawale urged the FG to resolve the issue amicably with the union in the interest of the nation and called all medical doctors under the auspices of NMA to continue with their humanitarian
A Public Health Physician at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Dr Uthman Mubashir, said doctors carried out their duties at the hospital, saying they are not part of NLC but said other staffers at the hospital are part of NLC and may be on strike.
As at the time of filing the report, the state’s Federal Secretariat was beehive of activities as workers were busy at their various offices.