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Lagos public schools, offices shut, hospitals, banks render skeletal services

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A school in Lagos

As the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) commenced its nationwide warning strike yesterday, public schools and government establishments were shut, paralysing activities across Lagos State.

The main gate of the state secretariat, Alausa, was under lock and key when The Guardian visited around 10:00am, as NLC officials blocked the main entrance with their buses to ensure compliance by the state government officials.

Workers and visitors who thronged the secretariat were, therefore, denied access to the premises, as they sauntered around the gate.

From Abule-Egba, Agege, Ikeja, Agidingbi, to Ogba, public primary and secondary schools were shut.

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As early as 9:00am, students who had left early for school were seen returning home, while others were loitering the streets.

A passenger, Precious Ihejirika, told The Guardian that when she came out to Cele bus stop, there were few vehicles heading towards Oshodi, but there were many passengers at the bus stop.

She explained that the bus driver only agreed to convey passengers after charging N200 for a journey that usually cost N100 but he collected N150 after much pleading.

NLC Chairman, Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Idowu Adelakun, who spoke with journalists at the secretariat, said there was total compliance from workers, but however, disclosed that their aim of blocking the secretariat gate was to maintain peace by ensuring that some workers do not cash in on the strike to destroy government property if allowed into the premises.

Also, a visit to the Lagos Television (LTV) in Agidingbi showed that workers were prevented from entering the premises, as NLC officials locked the gates and were holding different posters while ordering the workers to either join them or go home.

Consequently, most of the civil servants idled around before dispersing to their various destinations. Also, the Lagos High Court was locked up inn compliance with the industrial action.

Speaking on behalf of NLC leadership, Comrade Amaechi Asugwuni of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), said paralysing the nation’s activities was to enforce the position of National Executive Council (NEC) of all organs and labour centres in the country.

Meanwhile, economic activities were grounded in Lagos as some banks rendered skeletal services, while others were under lock and key.

Also, government offices and agencies, ministries, courts and public schools were closed, while school children were seen loitering the streets as they were sent back home.

But hospitals defied NLC’s order as they offered services to Nigerians.

At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), doctors and other caregivers went about their normal businesses attending to patients.

Public Relations Officer of LUTH, Kelechi Otuneme, said the hospital was attending to its patients in spite of the strike.

However, the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) did participate in the strike, as commercial bus drivers were busy doing their normal business, but filling stations were seen attending to customers.

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