Public and private sector workers in five states of the North West on Wednesday defied the nationwide strike action ordered by the Ayuba Waba faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over fuel price increase.
Federal and state workers in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Kebbi have reported to their duty posts in defiance of the order.
Reports from the five states indicated that socio-economic activities were also going on, with schools, banks, markets, hospitals and other businesses fully opened.
In Sokoto, some civil servants said they would not join the strike because it would only aggravate current hardships in the country.
“Such strikes would only aggravate our situation; the NLC should have given the Federal Government the benefit of the doubt,” Aliyu Musa, a worker at the Shehu Kangiwa Secretariat, said.
Mr Mathias Iliya, a federal worker said “no worker in his right senses will join the strike action.
“Nigerians should be fervently prayerful and patient with the Buhari administration as his intentions towards Nigerians are truly sincere.”
Mr El-Mustapha Sani, the Police spokesman in the state, said all Area and Divisional Commands had been put on red alert.
“The command had also made arrangements to fully patrol the state to protect lives, public and private property,” Sani said.
In Kaduna, civil servants and all businesses including motor parks were fully opened, with residents going about their normal business.
At the Kaduna State University, normal academic activity was going on with students taking lectures.
Workers of the institution have also fully turned out for work, and according to the university’s Public Relations Officer, Adama Jafar, there was no directive from any union to proceed on strike.
At the Olusegun Obasanjo State Secretariat, some of the workers interviewed said that they were not convinced with the NLC’s argument for the strike.
One of the workers, Hajiya Lami Bello said that the NLC should respect the decision of the National Industrial Court, which ordered the union not to proceed with the strike.
Another worker, Karim Ahmed said most civil servants were conscious not to fall into the trap of ‘no work, no pay’ as announced by the government.
On her part, Sarah Bijimi urged the NLC and Nigerians to be patient and support the Federal Government’s action, saying “with time things will get better.”
At the Barau Dikko General Hospital, health workers including doctors, nurses, laboratory staff were seen attending to out-patients and those on admission.
Jonathan Yohanna, a staff of the state Ministry of Health, said “we are not on strike, all our hospitals are functional and our officials are working.”
The State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, said it had deployed 600 personnel to guard strategic public installations in the state.
Mr Orndiir Tergungwe, the command’s spokesman said the move was to avoid breakdown of law and order during the period of the strike.
‘We advise the residents to be law abiding and go about their normal business. We reassure the residents that their security will be guaranteed.”
A check at the Kaduna Central market indicated that traders have turned out for full business.
Yusuf Bala, a rice dealer, said: “we don’t have confidence in NLC because at the end of every strike we don’t benefit from any relief.”
Maman Kobo, a Provision seller, advised the labour union to “sit down and dialogue with the government rather than embark on strike.”
Reports from Kebbi indicated that civil servants had also defied the NLC’s call for total strike action.
NAN reports that government offices, markets, banks and business centres have opened for normal business while civil servants have reported to their places of work as early as 8:00 am.
The Chairman of the state NLC, Murtala Usman, told NAN in a telephone interview that he was on his way to Birnin Kebbi from Abuja, and insisted that the strike would hold.
According to him, the NLC will assemble workers by 10:00 am at the Labour House before embarking on the strike.
The State Secretary of Birnin Kebbi Federal Medical Centre of National Association of Nurses and Midwives, Usman Mohammed, said they had not received any signal to embark on the strike.
“We are waiting for the signal from the national secretariat of our association and until we receive the signal we will not embark on the strike”, he added.
A cross section of workers and residents indicated they were not satisfied with the reasons advanced by the NLC to embark on the strike.
In Kano, the nationwide strike action called by the organised labour has also met a setback, as workers in the state ignored the directive.
According to a NAN correspondent who monitored the situation, state and federal government workers had all reported to their various places of work.
Also at the Audu Bako Secretariat, and Federal Government Secretariat at about 8:30 am, workers were seen in their respective offices while others were seen within the premises in groups discussing the strike.
Similarly, all commercial banks, markets and motor parks had all opened for business in the state.
As at the time of filing the report, traders at the two major markets in Sabon Gari and Kantin Kwari had opened their shops for business as directed by the National President of the Harmonised Traders Union of Nigeria, Alhaji Bature Abdulaziz.
Abdulaziz had on Monday called on traders across the country to ignore the planned strike by the labour unions.
At the First Bank of Nigeria, Kano main branch, workers were also seen going about their normal schedules.
One of the staff of the Bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the strike as unnecessary, adding that majority of Nigerians were not in support of it.
“This strike is a failure as most Nigerians are not in support of it”, he said.
NAN also reports that primary and secondary schools as well as other higher institutions in the state had opened.
However, in Bayero University Kano, some lecturers had joined the strike while others were working.
In Katsina, workers at the State and Federal Secretariats have reported to their duty posts.
Jibrin Garkuwo, a middle-level worker, said that they decided not to join the strike because Katsina was the home state of President Buhari.
He said that they are ready to support the president to achieve his economic policies that will move the country forward.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of NLC in the state, Alhaji Lawal Sandawa, said the union would assess the situation before commenting on the strike.