By Olabode Jegede
The prices of food stuff in Ogun and Lagos state increased as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) insist on nationwide strike over new minimum wage.
Also banking halls today were filled to capacity by individuals making transactions to avoid being stranded during the nationwide strike. Most banking halls in Lagos and Ogun state visited by our correspondents witnessed influx of businessmen and presence of corporate and individuals rushing to make necessary transaction since the period of the NLC strike is not clearly stated.
NLC as at the time of filing this report insisted on N30,000 minimum wage while the federal government team agreed to an increase from N18,000 i to N24,000.
Contrary to the labour’s demand, the federal government said it could only pay N24,000 as minimum wage and the state governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, had stuck to N22,500.
Markets visited by our correspondents in Sango, Ogun state and Oja-Oba and Oshodi in Lagos state revealed that prices of yam, rice, among others have increased drastically.
Findings by our correspondents also revealed that a tuber of Yam sold at N600 at Oja- Oba was sold on Monday morning between N700 and N800 while a bag of rice moved to N15,000 in Sango from N13,800.
Market women who spoke with our correspondents in Sango, acknowledged rush in the afternoon of Monday as most government and private workers were buying food stuff over looming nationwide strike.
They expressed that most people were buying few food stuff over increased prices.
A garri seller in Sango major market, Mrs. Temitope said price of garri has increased to N350 from N300 as demand was high in the morning.
She expressed that majority of the buyers were buying few, hoping the proposed nationwide strike by NLC will be resolved on Monday.
A bank official, Mr. Tunde Akin, who works with a new generation bank, said banks are already make preparation over the nationwide strike.
He noted that banks are making provision for customers to withdraw money at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the bank in Sango.
The National Vice President of the United Labour Congress, Igwe Achese, had urged Nigerians to stockpile foodstuff.
“Our message is for Nigerians to begin to stockpile their homes with foodstuff because this strike, when it begins, it will not end until the Government meet our demands,” Achese said.
Government’s meeting with Labour in deadlock
The Tripartite Committee on new minimum wage failed to reach a consensus on Monday evening after spending five hours.
Addressing newsmen after adjourning the meeting for two hours, its Chairman, Ama Pepple and Labour Minister, Chris Ngige said two figures N24,000 and N30,000 will be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari at the end of the meeting.
Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige said the meeting is adjourned to 10pm on Monday to get Buhari’s nod to the agreement.
The government side is hopeful organised labour will put off its scheduled nationwide strike but none of the labour leaders spoke on the development.
FG begs labour to call off planned strike
However, President Buhari on Monday enjoined the NLC to put off the nationwide industrial action planned to commence on today.
According to, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, the President made the appeal at the Presidential Villa while receiving members of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (RCAN).
He said Buhari implored the labour union to consider his efforts in putting the economy right, as well as the huge infrastructural deficit in the country, which his administration is struggling to overcome.
“President Buhari also appealed to the NLC leaders to consider what this government inherited and the more it is doing with fewer resources in putting the economy right,” the statement read.
He explained further that, “There is no part of the country I haven’t been to, having attempted to be President four times. I know the condition of our roads. The rails were literally killed, there was no power despite the admittance of some previous leadership that they spent $16billion on the sector.
“Today, we are getting our priorities right and we believe that of the three fundamental issues we campaigned on — security, the economy and fighting corruption, we have remained very relevant and Nigerians believe we have achieved something. “I will do my best to see that where there are possibilities of making a quick improvement on infrastructure, we will do it.”
Industrial Court refuses to grant FG order to stop strike
The National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday rejected a request for a fresh order stopping the organised labour from embarking on its planned indefinite strike.
The court presided over by Justice Sanusi Kado also refused to grant a prayer for an order to compel the government to immediately commence the process of adopting N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.
Justice Kado said it would be unnecessary to make another order stopping labour from embarking on the planned strike having earlier made a similar one in a case brought to the court by the Federal Government last week.
The Federal Government had filed its suit following the threat by the organised labour, comprising the National Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, and the United Labour Congress, to embark on strike if its demand for increase in the national minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 was not met.
The court last week granted an order stopping the labour strike, and was no longer any form of urgency in the matter, and as such, it was not necessary to compel the federal government to start the process of adopting the N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.