Strike cripples Nigerian phone lines

Thousands of workers at Nigeria's state-run telecommunications firm have gone on strike over unpaid wages, paralysing much of the country's telephone services.

    Obasanjo has intervened to try and end the strike

    Subscribers to Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and those who use its facilities say they have been unable to make or receive local or international calls since the strike began on Monday.

    Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president, has ordered the finance ministry to immediately release 1.7 billion naira ($13 million) to offset the salaries of the workers who are owed about four months' pay, an official said.

    "The minister of communications, Cornelius Adebayo, has appealed to the workers to go back to work as efforts are being made to pay the salary arrears," a spokesman said on Tuesday.

    The Nigerian government is preparing NITEL for privatisation and last month the nation's privatisation agency said it was trying to conclude a negotiated sale of the firm to a preferred investor before the end of June.

    In the past three years, the government has made three botched attempts to sell NITEL.

    The company and its subsidiaries have 1.2 million subscribers while the three private mobile phone operators, who came into operation less than five years ago, have more than 22 million subscribers.

    NITEL has been a victim of corruption and mismanagement, especially under the country's military.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

    Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

    On the anniversary of UN Resolution 242, Al Jazeera explores the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.

    Robert Mugabe: Portrait of a presidency

    Robert Mugabe: Portrait of a presidency

    Some key moments in the life of the man who led his country from independence in 1980 until November 21, 2017.

    When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

    When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

    In the US, Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on Thursday, November 23.