Court Ruling Seeks to Bar National Strike in Nigeria



ABUJA (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 6, 2012

A Nigerian court on Friday issued an order seeking to block nationwide indefinite strikes planned by the labor unions against soaring petrol prices.

However, the unions vowed to forge ahead with the strike actions.

The labor movement has threatened to stage open-ended general strikes, mass rallies and street protests across the country starting Monday if the government doesn't backtrack on its new policy to remove subsidies on petrol.

Judge Babatunde Adejuwon of the country's industrial court ruled in favor of the government in an interim order restraining the unions from "embarking and or inciting the general public...to embark on a general strike."

He said the government argued that economic activities in Africa's leading oil producer would be "adversely affected as will the health and safety of the citizenry if the impending strike is allowed to hold."

The unions, which have threatened to shut down Africa's most populous country, weren't at the court.

They laughed over the order saying the government "has purchased a black market injunction."

"There is no going back on next week's protests and shutdown," said Owei Lakemfa, secretary general of the Nigerian Labour Congress.

Nigeria ended fuel subsidies on Jan. 1, which caused pump prices to more than double to about NGN140 per liter in a country where most people live on less than $2 per day.

The country has been rocked by increasingly volatile protests over the issue.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.



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