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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ROGER REYNOLDS | Jan. 12, 2012
if they shut down everything i can understand. but if they shut down business like banks and other business those people got to pay bills and buy food if all this is shut down then and they cannot eat or there kids i think they should think about this. because in the long run they are not hurting the government they are hurting there selfs.

Timi | Jan. 12, 2012
The removal of fuel subsidy by the FG of Nig is totally a welcome development, we should give Mr president a chance to put a final stop of the illegal exportation of our nations wealth (OIL) to neighbouring countries by the cabals. (BUNKERING) People are emphasising that Government should carry out other developmental steps like roads, electricity, water and the likes before fuel, but they are forgetting the rule of priority, first thing first, if we must get it right we must start from the root. If we can solve this issue of fuel looting, all other things will take shape. Remember Ghana is experiencing fuel scarcity now as a result of just 2 days of susidy removal. I totally feel the pain we all will pass through during this trial period, but don't forget that "No Pain, No gain" 2 Face made it clear, "No body wan die, but dem wan go heaven", I am pleading with all Nigerians to give this Government a chance by making this little sacrifise. God bless u, God bless Nigeria

Itotoh Ehimen | Jan. 10, 2012
The Nigerian Government should work on the real issues eating up the Nations economy. 1st on the List being corruption. Our leaders should be more sensitive to the plight of its citizenry and and should not punish over 150 million people because of the excesses of a few.

uwem johnson | Jan. 9, 2012
I'm completely in support of the fuel subsidy removal but the problem is the timing of the removal. Nigerian publics most understand that this is the prices we must pay for this country to move on. Lets give Mr. President the benefit of doubt. Thank you. Uwem Johnson.

FERGIE | Jan. 9, 2012
YES ONCE AGAIN GREED AND PERSONAL GAIN IS UPPERMOST IN THE NIGERIAN GOVERMENTS MINDS THEY ARE CRUCIFYING PEOPLE WHO AVERAGE $2 - 3 DOLLARS A DAY, AS ALWAYS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THE POOREST ARE HIT, JUST AS THE BRITISH TAX THE UK 90 PENCE ON THE LITRE IT IS TIME TOO STAND AND BE ADDRESSED, THE RICH DONT CARE AS THEY CAN AFFORD IT THE GOVERMENTS DONT CARE BECAUSE THEY EITHER GET THEIRS SUBSIDIZED OR PAID FOR IN EXPENSES, AS USUAL ONLY THE POOR ARE HARDSHIPPED BY THESE GREEDY PEOPLE, FERGIE. FRAE SCOTLAND.NOT UK.

adebiyi seun bright | Jan. 7, 2012
Government should better bring back the removal of oil subsidy cos i cant belief without the removal of oil subsidy we cant achieve our aims and goal

Alesh | Jan. 7, 2012
Fallacious injunction. Are judiciary not Nigerians they simply need to face reality in issues that concerns the poor. Nigerian government is deceitful

Mazi Colman Obasi | Jan. 7, 2012
There is no industrial dispute between the government and the labour movement in Nigeria. The federal government have no right to approach the Industrial Court when there is no industrial relations issue at stake. The issue of fuel subsidy removal is to my mind, beyond the labor movement. Nigerians are the ones protesting and not the labour movement. The labour movement happens to be one of the media for convergence. The Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Medical Association and Civil Society Organizations are all involved. The Court Order was issued in futility because is not binding on Nigerians who are already on the street without waiting for the labour movement. Nigerians are exercising their sovereign rights which the Nigerian constitution and democratic concept is based on.

Capt. Dick Ekufebakumo | Jan. 7, 2012
No to fuel subsidy removal now. Government should face or tackle security challenges in the country. Fuel subsidy removal should come after six months overall consultation. The security challenge is much.Please settle the security issue and and move the country forward before fuel subsidy issue.

Jeannette | Jan. 7, 2012
Aside from anyone's personal left/right view that flourish because of our rich western backgrounds... see the part where most people live on $2 a day. Just think of the craziness seen in the United States when prices are near $3.30 per gallon and the average citizen lives on average of $40 per day. Minding that we Americans use gas for many aspects of transport and industry, for average Nigerians, this is not some simple market correction removing subsidies as Business interests portray, it threatens the subsistence livelihood for millions of desperate people. The Developed nations must learn to conserve and invest in developing countries so they may avoid the catch 22 of dependence on this volatile resource.

David | Jan. 6, 2012
Fuel subsidy removal is a sacrifice for our future This clear that the government they made us believe in pass that has done visually nothing for its citizen has usually been doing something great that not every Nigeria who have been benefiting knows or are aware of so lets take this time put the peg in the sequel lets support the government decision.


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