Nigerian general strike called off

Nigeria's labour unions have called off a nationwide strike over a sharp rise in the cost of fuel after authorities agreed to roll back prices.

    Most Nigerian's see cheap fuel as their birth-right

    The strike was to begin on Thursday, but an agreement was reached in last-ditch talks late on Wednesday between labour unions, oil marketing companies, governors of Nigerian states and representatives of the national assembly.

    "The Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) strike slated for 9 October is suspended forthwith," said a joint statement from those attending the talks.

    "Major oil marketing companies should revert to the old pump price of petroleum products at 34 naira per litre with effect from 8 October," added the statement.

    NLC President Adams Oshiomole said the unions were "very satisfied" with the outcome of the talks and described it as a modest victory for the majority of the suffering Nigerians.

    Peoples' Victory

    Widespread unrest over the cost of fuel was triggered by the 17% jump in prices this month that followed the government's decision to deregulate oil product prices.

    "The government had been forced to act because of the groundswell of opinion against the price increase," he said.

    "Provided if they effect the price reversal with effect from tomorrow, the strike that was expected to commence tomorrow is now no longer necessary. Accordingly this strike is hereby suspended," Oshiomole said.

    The agreement was reached only hours before the strike was to begin, that expectedly would have shut down Africa's largest oil producer and the world's seventh biggest exporter.

    Widespread unrest over the cost of fuel was triggered by the 17% jump in prices this month that followed the government's decision to deregulate oil product prices.

    The proposed strike, if it had got under way, would have been Nigeria's second general strike in the year.

    Several people had died in the country during an eight-day strike earlier in July over another increase in fuel prices.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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