By Nwachukwu Ndubuto
Activities have grounded to a halt in the Nigerian public sector following a nation-wide protest against the governments increase in fuel prices. The successful stay-at-home order from the Nigerian Labour Union which commenced on 11th October has given thrust to the agitation of the masses against governmentˊs insensitivity.
The recent increase in price of fuel by the Nigerian government had received a hard knock and cast-iron opposition from both apex labour bodies, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC). Government explained that the increase which it called fuel tax Naira1.50/litre) was a step towards achieving its planned deregulation of the petroleum down-stream sector.
President Obasanjo further explained that deregulation, a packet in his reforms agenda, was the only way to solve perennial shortage puzzle. Organised Labour, on its part, perceived it as another effort aimed at elevating the suffering and exploitation of the Nigerian public. It accused government of high level of insensitivity towards the plight of the Nigerian masses.
The increase has brought the Litre-price (Naira) #55/litre petrol which had ushered in a multiplier effect on the price of other commodities. It would be recalled that prior to the labour strike, exportation of crude oil by Nigeria was hampered by militia action in the Niger Delta, led by Asari Dokubo who recently had peace talks with President Obasanjo.It is noteworthy to point that the present strike is the third general industrial action in 18 months.
Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa and 6th in the World, would experience further disruption in its oil exportation as a result of the labour strike. Its implication at the global market is the continued soaring price of crude oil which has reached an all time high of $50/barrel.