Monday, January 16, 2012

Nigeria unions vow to keep up protest

Angry protesters burn debris in the city of Lagos in southwestern Nigeria on January 10, 2012 following the removal of a fuel subsidy by the government

Source: Press TV

Two major unions in Nigeria have vowed to continue nationwide strikes and protests over spiraling fuel prices in the country after negotiations with the government failed.

The assertion, which was made in a joint statement by Nigeria Labor Congress and Trade Union Congress, came after Nigeria's labor unions ended talks with President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday with no clear-cut results.

Tens of thousands of Nigerians demonstrated over five successive days last week in protest against the removal of fuel subsidies on January 1, which more than doubled the price of petrol to 150 naira (92 cents) per liter from 65 naira (40 cents).

The unions also vowed in the statement to continue the strikes and protests if the government did not reverse its decision on the subsidies.

The labor unions also said they needed to consider their next move. "We have come and listened to the president ... on the issue of removal of fuel subsidy and we are going now to analyze the submission of Mr. President and take a decision," said Nigeria Labour Congress chief, Abdulwahed Omar.

The unions had demanded the government to restore an estimated USD 8 billion a year in fuel subsidies, but the government only promised to slightly lower the prices.

Jonathan absented himself from a Saturday meeting with union representatives.

He has said that the subsidies on oil were unsustainable for the country. The government has alleged it would use USD 8 billion in savings to make much-needed infrastructure improvements in the country.

Demonstrations have turned violent across the country over the last week, leaving many Nigerians dead and scores injured.

Nigeria produces over 2 million barrels of crude per day and is a key supplier to the US, Europe, and Asia.

The developments come as concerns over Nigerian oil supplies have pushed up global oil prices.

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