- Benin Airport Shut
Striking workers on Thursday paralysed activities in all the offices at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja. The Punch correspondent who observed activities at the secretariat located in the Three Arms Zone reported that most workers did not report for work.
A few of the workers who reported for work were however seen sitting idly at the gates of the complexes in the secretariat. Security was also beefed up at the gates to forestall breakdown of law and order.
Some of the offices affected were the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health among others. At the complex housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the flag of the Nigeria Labour Congress was hoisted on the main gate which remained closed to workers.
The big car park located behind the Eagle Square being used by workers was virtually empty. Those who sell N100 ticket for those who park their cars inside the car park were however on duty. “Hunger will kill me if I should go on strike,” one of them told our correspondent who asked why he did not join the industrial action. The industrial action also affected petty traders who are usually patronised by the workers.
Most hit were food vendors who have their shops inside the car park. When our reporter visited the shops, only a handful of them were operational. Those who were operating were only offering skeletal services. “We only cooked small food since we heard about the strike before now.
“We did not cook any ‘swallow,’ we only cooked rice. In fact, since others are closing, we are also planning to leave now,” Amarachi, an attendant in one of the food shops told our correspondent. Despite the industrial action, however, military and para-military officials were seen taking part in the rehearsal for the Independence Day Parade at the Eagle Square.
Meanwhile, activities at the Benin Airport were grounded on Thursday as both entry and exit gates were locked, with hundreds of intending passengers stranded, arising from nationwide strike called by the leadership of organised labour.
Organised labour had on Wednesday directed all its affiliates to commence an indefinite warning strike on Thursday to press home its demand for a new national minimum wage.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the strike caused gridlock within the axis of the Airport Road as motorists had a hectic time trying to negotiate the area.
While hundreds of intending passengers loitered around both entry and exit gates, security personnel struggled to control both human and vehicular traffic.
Edo Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Emmanuel Ademokun, who spoke to NAN, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance.
He told NAN that he and his team were going round to ensure total compliance with the stay-at-home directive of the NLC.
“We want to ensure that workers in the state comply with the directive of the NLC on industrial action.
“We are not just sitting, but going around to monitor things ourselves.
“I am quite satisfied with what I have seen so far and this will continue until there is a directive from the national secretariat,” he stated.