List of All Trade Unions in Nigeria – Examples & Functions

For most occupation in Nigeria, there are associations and unions that guides and speak out for the organization. 

These organizations are known as trade unions, and in this article, I listed all trade unions in Nigeria and their functions. 

The main purpose of the various Nigerian trade unions is to speak up for the sector that sets it up on their behalf by mediating with the government, ensuring that their salary is satisfactory, and implementing conditions that will benefit all the members.

In Nigeria, we have different trade unions, which are of different fields and occupations. So, for example, people who are in the medical line have a Union known as MMA (Nigerian Medical Association), while the teachers have the NUT, known as the (Nigerian union of teachers).

So, now that we all know what a trade union is all about, it’s time we explore the types of trade unions in Nigeria and their roles.

List Of Trade Unions In Nigeria & Examples

  • Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)
  • Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC)
  • Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU)
  • Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT)
  • Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN)
  • National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)
  • Nigeria Medical Association (NMA)
  • Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP)
  • National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD)


Trade Unions In Nigeria And Their Functions

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is the most popular trade union we have in Nigeria. This is most popular because it is responsible for the industrial action placed on most Nigerian tertiary institutions.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was founded in 1978 as it replaced the Nigerian Association of University Teachers. 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is currently headed by Professor Victor Emmanuel Osodeke, who emerged as the President on the 30th of May, 2021.

Under the union are all senior staff and academic staff in the country’s federal and state universities. ASUU acts as a mouthpiece for all universities’ academic staff by securing that they are not deprived of their privileges. When the government tries to play stubborn, they go on strike, thereby closing all government universities. 

They can then open the universities and resume their normal activities only if the government has met their demands.

Just last year, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) shut down schools for over six months due to the non-payment of lecturers’ salaries, which has been resolved.

Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC)

The trade union body was established in the year 1978 and is currently headed by Comr. Ayuba Wabba.

Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) is another popular trade union in Nigeria. This union handles all the issues affecting all government labour workers.

The Nigerian Labor Congress’s objective is to save the labour workers from any form of ill-treatment they might get from the government.

Furthermore, this union intervenes in Issues like unnecessary increase in petrol price, poor payment of salaries, and more.

This union is the largest in Nigerian, with over 150 affiliated unions under It.

Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU)

Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) is somehow related to ASUU in functions but differ by the kind of people they deal with.

ASUU deals with the Academic Staff while NASU deals with the Non-academic staff.

The non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) was founded in 1977 through Decree No. 22 (Davison 1977) and is currently headed by Mohammed Ibrahim.

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT)

The Nigeria Union of Teachers is another very popular trade union. This trade union was set up for the teachers to help them fight for their rights and act as a mouthpiece for them.

This union embodies all government teachers both at the primary and secondary schools level in the country. 

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) was established in 1931. It was first headed by late Oludotun Ransome Kuti to fight against the reduction of teachers’ salaries and show the supremacy of the profession.

Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN)

Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) is a trade union established for people in the entertainment industry.

DGN was founded in the year 2001 and is currently headed by Mr. Fred Amata.

The union was established to maintain and improve the standard of the Nigerian movie industry, an objective that has been achieved over the years.

They also initiated the union to ensure that all members of the Nigerian movie industry are communicating well with one another.

This union serves as a body for motion pictures and TVs in the country’s entertainment industry, with its main objectives being bringing all actors and actresses together. 

National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)

National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is another trade union in Nigeria set up to ensure that all workers are in safe conditions. This union is one of the unions acting as a subsidiary to the  Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC). 

The  National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is guarded by the NLC regarding issues concerning all government labour workers, even if it is only the oil sector.

Members of this union include Petroleum workers, Oil tank drivers, and Oil marketers. 

Nigeria Medical Association (NMA)

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is a union set up to act as a mouthpiece for all the doctors in the county. These include medical experts like Surgeons, Gynecologists, Dentists, Optometrists, and other Public Health workers.

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) fight for medical worker’s salaries, work safety, and creating a safe working environment and equipment.

This was the union responsible for the Doctor’s strike during the Covid-19 pandemic. They claimed that if doctors are provided with good medical equipment and a safe working environment, they won’t treat any Covid-19 patient.

Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP)

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics works in the same way as ASUU but differs in the kind of staff they handle. ASUP houses all academic staff in all government polytechnics. 

The body ensures that all the union members are well paid and granted efficient working materials and environment.

The members of this union include Polytechnic Lecturers, Polytechnic technologists, and all teaching workers in polytechnics.

National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD)

National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Is a subsidiary of the NMA, and it comprises all specialists in the medical profession in the country.

When Was The First Trade Union Formed In Nigeria?

The first trade union in Nigeria is the Civil Service Union, and it was established on August 19, 1912.

The trade union movement in Nigeria emerged out of this early resistance. The first formal trade union was established on August 19, 1912. It was called the Nigeria Civil Service Union.


Who Is The Father Of Trade Union In Nigeria?

The father of a trade union in Nigeria is Late Michael Athokhamien Imoudu. 

Late Micheal Imoudu was a Nigerian labour union leader, and he was born on September 7, 1902, in Owan West, Edo State. He died on the 22nd of June 2005 (102 years).


History Of Trade Unions In Nigeria

The first industrial action of Nigerian workers happened in the year 1897 but was fully established in 1912.  The first Union was called the Nigeria Civil Service Union. 

This Union suffered many backlashes because it wasn’t recognized not until 1938 when the Trade Union Ordinance was enacted. This paved the way for the registration of other trade unions in Nigeria.


Problems Of Trade Unions In Nigeria

Small Size

One of the major problems trade of unions in Nigeria is that they are usually small in size.

This is a very big disadvantage to most trade unions because they will not be recognized by the government and employers in the country when they are small in size.

Poor Finance

From what we discussed above, when a union is small in number, there won’t be enough finance to make it grow and develop into a larger union.

When this happens, the Union will become inactive, leading to a situation whereby it will fade off since it didn’t develop to the stage where the government can recognize it.


Another problem which most trade union faces is that they are usually politicized when it comes to electing Union leaders or other high posts.

Politicization is very detrimental to the growth of a union. It usually leads to fights and arguments between most members since they would turn into politics and start giving the position on merits and not to those who deserve it.

Multiplicity of Unions

Another problem is the diversity of the Union.

Suppose a group of people can’t come together to form a union. In that case, they will be the multiplicity of Union whereby we can have two unions of the same name but different people.

Since they can’t come together as one, the government will see them as a serious Union, thereby might not be approved or recognized.


Roles Of Trade Unions In Nigeria

Generally, the role of power trade unions is to act as a mouthpiece for their members whenever they are being treated unfairly by the government

Trade unions created to fight for the rights of their members and also speak on behalf of all their members so that whenever the government doesn’t pay their salary or create an efficient workspace for them, they can easily call out to the government to do it for them and when the government refuses they might start and industrial action which will force the government to meet all their needs.



Trade Unions are very important in any profession and occupation as they perform several functions to ensure that their workers are happy with their job and they serve as a means of connecting people together and also fighting for their rights against the government.

An occupation without a union in the country might suffer a lot from the government because they won’t have access to some benefits they are supposed to enjoy.