Government businesses were grounded in various ministries and parastatals in Edo State as workers and officials of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led members of the civil society groups as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to chase workers out of their offices to join in the nationwide protest against the N145 hike in the pump price of petrol.
The exercise which began at about 9am from the popular Kings Square on Ring Road was led by the state chairman of the NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun and leaders of other affiliate bodies as they moved from one office to another to monitor the compliance and progress of the strike action.
When newsmen visited the state secretariat on Sapele road, ministry of Information, ministry of Justice and various local government council headquarters showed that the offices were placed under lock and key.
Some of the workers who dared to open their offices to resume work yesterday were chased out by the protesting labour union leaders and members as they went about mobilising forces to join in the strike.
At the state Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and other parastatals near the state secretariat, workers were seen with the permanent secretary in the ministry of health, Mr Peter Ugbodaga discussing in groups alongside other senior government officials.
It was learnt that the protesting unions leaders had swooped on officials of the state ICT who were conducting staff verification and other workers within the secretariat complex and disrupted activities in the area, forcing them to close their offices for the day.
As the protest progressed, some of the workers were seen leaving their offices for home even as there was traffic gridlock for hours along the busy Sapele road in Benin, the state capital.
The NLC leaders and members of the civil society groups with placards of various inscriptions were resisted by staff of a filling station, Asolyn, close to Ogbeleka street in the capital town as they tried to stop the staff and management of the petrol station from the day’s business.