Country Listing

Nigeria Table of Contents


Labor Organizations

Nigeria's labor force numbered about 50 million in 1990. About 3.5 million wage earners belonged to forty-two recognized trade unions under the single national labor federation, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). The Socialist Working People's Party reportedly had considerable influence in the NLC, although it was banned along with other parties in 1983. The police prevented the inauguration of the Nigerian Socialist Party in May 1989, citing the "general insecurity in the country."

Organized labor has been more a nuisance than a menace to national security. For example, a 1985 strike by public health doctors ended when the FMG arrested its leaders, outlawed the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), dismissed sixty-four doctors including officers of the NMA and the NARD, and imposed financial penalties on others. Likewise, when the NLC threatened a twentyfour -hour general strike and demonstrations in June 1986 to protest the May killing of more than a dozen Ahmadu Bello University students by police, the police broke up NLC meetings and detained its leaders, and the FMG warned that any strike would be put down with "all the means at its disposal." In May 1987, Babangida lifted the ten-year-old ban on Nigeria's veteran labor leader, Chief Michael Imoudu, and ten others, but in late 1987, thirteen senior NLC officials were detained after union demonstrations, and in February the AFRC dissolved the NLC executive. Serious industrial union demonstrations occurred in April 1988 to protest the government's austerity measures under the structural adjustment program (SAP), especially the increase in gasoline prices and the perceived excessive use of force by police in putting down a strike by students and workers in Jos. In December 1989, the government acceded to NLC demands for a negotiating forum to resolve a long-standing minimum-wage dispute after the union threatened to call a nationwide general strike.

Academic unionists also clashed with the authorities on several occasions in 1986 and 1988. The protests resulted in 1988 in the detention of eight Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) leaders. Finally, the government banned the ASUU and its intimidations were denounced by human rights monitoring groups and the Nigerian Bar Association. The ban was lifted in August 1990.

Data as of June 1991