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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 January 2012

Nigeria: Fuel strike suspended

Nigeria's trade union leaders called off the unions' week-long general strike after the government agreed to partially reinstate the cancelled fuel subsidy.

Since the strike began on 9 January thousands of angry Nigerians have taken to the streets, defying police violence, to protest against the anti-poor and neoliberal policies of president Goodluck Jonathan's government.

What has incensed many Nigerians is seeing the enormous wealth from the country's oil export revenues being siphoned off by corrupt officials while the price of fuel has soared.

The removal of the fuel subsidy on 1 January - demanded by the International Monetary Fund - saw the price of petrol rocket from 65naira (26p) a litre to 140niara. The partial reinstatement of subsidies will bring the price down to 97naira.

The rise in the petrol pump prices has also led to an increase in the price of food and other goods because of higher transportation costs. Given the economic hardships that the majority of Nigerians already suffer - mass unemployment, widespread absolute poverty, etc - the fuel increase was 'the straw the broke the camel's back'.

The government argues that the cost of the subsidy would be better spent on infrastructure and on improving public services but few believe this will happen.

Given the widespread support for the week-long strike many Nigerians will be angered by the union leaders precipitately ending the action. Even before announcing the end of the strike the labour leaders had called for an end to street protests and demonstrations citing 'the country's security problems' as an excuse.


Website of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) - CWI in Nigeria http://www.socialistnigeria.org/

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In The Socialist 18 January 2012:


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Nigeria: Fuel strike suspended


 

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