Nigeria on lockdown as workers shut down airport, power grid amid economic hardship

By Obed Minchakpu |
International Terminal at Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos
International Terminal at Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. | Sm105 / Wikimedia

Nigeria is currently on a lockdown as workers in both public and private sectors embarked on indefinite industrial strike nationwide on Monday, 3 June, 2024, in order to demand for increased wages due to soaring inflation in the country’s economy.

Airports, seaports, hospitals, schools, colleges, and most industries in the country have all been shut, leading to a critical situation in all sectors of the nation’s economy.

The workers unions had demanded that the Nigerian government a for a minimum monthly wage of Six Hundred Thousand Naira ($450 USD) to the least of the workers in the country, with a progressive salary increase for other cadres of workers.

The workers too, are demanding a downward review of electric power tariffs as they said current charges are emasculating lower class Nigerians. 

One of the labor leaders, Festus Osifo, President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), said in a statement that workers in the country will continue with the strike until Nigerian government authorities meet their demands.

“It is difficult and in fact impossible for us as labour leaders, to call off the strike,” he said.

Christian leaders under the auspices of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have been concerned with effects of industrial disharmony in the country and appealed to the Nigerian government to urgently look into the endemic poverty situation that has taken a firm grip on the poor and the plight of Nigerian workers, and take decisive actions towards the payment of living wages to all workers.

Archbishop Daniel Okoh, President of CAN said in a statement that “the demands by labour unions in the country for living wages for workers is justified as the prevailing inflationary pressure on the people is killing.”

The nationwide workers strike is coming on the heels of the killing of a former popular Christian labor leader in the country, Daniel Umaru, by armed bandits in Nasarawa State, central Nigeria on Tuesday, 28 May, 2024.

Umaro was the former secretary general of the Civil Service and Technical Workers Union of Nigeria, Plateau State Chapter. He was kidnapped at gunpoint and taken away from his country home in Wamba Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, central Nigeria. His body was discovered in a bush miles away from his home by a search party organized by his family.

A member of Umaro’s family said the Christian labor leader declined to ask his family to pay a ransom to his captors, which would have led them to release him from captivity. Therefore, his captors killed him when they were unable to force him to do their bidding.

Not relenting in prayers during hard times

Meanwhile, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on his part, called on Nigerians not to relent in prayers as they experience hard times.

While preaching in his church on Sunday, 2 June, 2024, Adeboye urged Nigerians to look up to God who’s the sustenance of life, and surely, they shall survive the hard times.

“If you need provision, if things are hard and I know things are hard for quite a number of us, call on the one whose name is Jehovah El-Shaddai, the God who is more than enough,” he said.

“Call on Him, the one who is more than enough, and He will meet your needs. He has many ways, depending on what is your need. When all ways are blocked, call on Him who is called the Way, when you don’t even know what’s going on.”