- Nigeria is preparing, unless a last-minute solution should occur, to suffer from yet another general strike. Trade unions have threatened to paralyse all oil industry operations in the country next week over a government decision to substantially rise fuel prices.
Unless there new, positive developments in the conflict, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) expects to declare a national industrial strike next week to protest against the new petroleum products price regime, according to reports from Nigeria.
The final decision is to be made this afternoon by the Central Labour Committee and the National Executive Council of the NLC in Abuja. A so-called "sit-at-home strike" seems to be preferred to a mass action, which some NLC members had called for. The Nigerian government does not seem to be willing to make last-minute concessions.
The possible strike thus might start already next Monday, 30 June, after a 72-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian government expires. The NLC ultimatum calls the government to withdraw its new petroleum products price policy or, at least, enter into a new dialogue with NLC members.
There is still no indication on how long the possible strike may last. The issue of duration was to be discussed at today's meeting.
While the strike is to organised throughout the country's oil sector, it may also include other sectors unionists indicate. However, not all unions are in agreement with the NLC's call to organise a strike at such a short notice.
Many Nigerian trade unionists are reported to disapprove of the NLC's tactics. Opinions are heard, it is necessary to spend more time to enable unions to mobilise all member workers, a time span that also could be useful to allow government more opportunity to restart a possible dialogue.
Yesterday, the Nigerian daily 'ThisDay' also reported that the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) supported the unions' critiques against government's fuel price hike. The CNPP had criticised President Olusegun Obasanjo for "arbitrarily increasing fuel price."
Trade unionists and the CNPP are said to be especially upset by the surprising government decision to increase fuel prices while it earlier had given assurances not to do so. There had been no dialogue before the decision was made, the NLC holds.
Fuel price hikes in Nigeria have been the most common reasons for devastating strikes and mass action during the civilian presidency of Mr Obasanjo. Nigeria is one of the world's leading oil producers and is subsidising national petroleum products prices. This subsidy is one of the largest expenses of the Nigerian Treasury.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.