Organised labour in Niger State, on Tuesday, shut down schools, hospitals, and other government institutions in Minna, the state capital, in line with an indefinite nationwide strike order of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC).
Channels Television learnt that some students in public schools who had arrived for lessons unaware of the strike were asked to return home.
A tour of some schools, the state veterinary hospital and the state secretariat complex in Minna, showed that the labour leaders from different affiliate unions were enforcing the directive of the NLC headquarters for compliance with the strike as the access gate was under lock and key.
The state NLC Chairman in Niger State, Idris Lafene, said the strike was in protest of the arrest and manhandling of the union’s National President, Joe Ajaero.
According to him, the non-implementation of wage awards to civil servants by the state government is also incentivising the indefinite strike.
The TUC National President, Festus Osifo, on Monday, addressed journalists in Abuja, directing all its members and affiliates to withdraw their services nationwide from midnight.
The strike comes on the heels of the physical assault NLC National President Joe Ajaero was subjected to in Imo State two weeks ago when he and other NLC members were in the South-East state for a demonstration over “non-payment of salaries and pensions for 44 months and violation of other labour rights”.
The protest was viewed in some circles as an attempt to scuttle the re-election bid of Governor Hope Uzodimma in last Saturday’s governorship election.
Following Ajaero’s ordeal, the organised labour called for a nationwide strike beginning today.
However, the National Industrial Court (NIC) restrained them from embarking on the strike action in the wake of the impasse with the Imo State Government.
In spite of the court order, the unions, in a statement on Monday, directed workers nationwide to withdraw their services at midnight.