Nigerian unions, activists to protest fuel prices

Nigerian trade unions and activists said on Monday they will hold a series of rallies to protest against a steep rise in fuel prices, but will not call a nationwide strike as they had earlier threatened.

“It’s not going to be an outright strike, but it’s going to be different marches all over Nigeria starting on the 14th” of September, said Beko Ransome-Kuti, a prominent political activist who was at a meeting with trade unions.

He said the first march will take place in Lagos, Nigeria’s main city.

Nigeria has ordered price hikes of up to 40% on fuels such as gas and diesel in an attempt to bring the subsidised prices closer in line with international norms.

Successive fuel-price rises have triggered general strikes and demonstrations in the country since 2003, when President Olusegun Obasanjo liberalised the fuel market as part of a wider reform agenda. Dozens have died in the protests.

Nigeria is the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter and the fifth-largest crude exporter to the United States, but corruption and mismanagement at its four refineries means it has to import most of its fuel.—Sapa-AP

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