NLC strike: Abia banks, petrol stations shut down after hours of service

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By Daniel Chibuike

Some banks and petrol stations in Umuahia, Abia State, escaped the wrath of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday for their initial refusal to comply with the two-day nationwide warning strike by organised labour.

While a few of the banks in the town offered skeletal services by dispensing cash in bank halls and using Automated Teller Machines, others closed their services completely.

However, upon receiving information that an enforcement team of NLC was coming to monitor and picket their premises, the banks that opened for business immediately shut down services, telling their customers to leave immediately.

DAILY POST visited the main branch of United Bank for Africa (UBA) near Government House at 10 am and found the bank attending to customers. But by 11 am, three officials of the bank came out to announce to customers that they could no longer attend to them.

“Dear customers, we are sorry to inform you that we can’t continue today. We have been open since today, even when many other banks closed. But the information we received now indicates that we should close immediately. We are sorry to inform you that you should come back on Thursday because we want to comply with the NLC strike,” one of the bank officials told the customers.

Many petrol stations in Umuahia did not open for business, but a few others, like RainOil and Total, capitalised on the situation to make brisk sales as desperate motorists queued up to fill their tanks.

Civil servants in the state, notably members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and officials of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), withdrew their services completely, throwing the city into darkness.

Abia NLC, headed by Paschal Nweke, earlier on Tuesday enforced the locking of important government offices in Umuahia, including the Michael Okpara auditorium, the Office of the Head of Service, the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, and ministries, among others.

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