Published: 09/01/2012

Late last year the Federal government of Nigeria gave a hint that it would deregulate the downstream of the oil sector by removing subsidy from the sales for local consumption. The labour movement and civil society opposed the move calling for prior measures to be put in place to protect the masses of the country.

While consultations were ongoing the Government abruptly raised the price of fuel by 120% on the first day of the new year. This singular action has caused untold hardship on the country’s masses.

At the meetings of the both umbrella bodies of the labour unions (NLC and TUC) and the Civil Society Coalition, it was decided to start an indefinite nationwide strike action from Monday, 9th January 2012 with mass protests in all state capitals of the country. All IUF Nigerian affiliates are participating in these actions.

In support of its Nigerian affiliates IUF general secretary Ron Oswald has sent the protest below to Nigerian president Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Oswald commented, “It is entirely unacceptable that the Nigerian government act in such a brutal and unilateral way in the midst of ongoing consultations over an issue which has such dramatic consequences on the lives of millions of Nigerian workers, their families and communities. The IUF will support in every way possible our Nigerian affiliates as they and others take action to persuade the government to reconsider and re-enter good faith consultation with its own people.

Message sent to the Nigerian government:

Concerns: Withdrawal of fuel subsidy.

I am writing on behalf of our members to prevail on you, to rescind your decision in removing the subsidy from petrol.

If the downstream should be deregulated, certain structures should be put in place, namely, refurbishment of local refineries, re-activate the railways, roads and provide amenities which will ameliorate the accompanying hardship that comes with the policy.

The government should also eliminate the corruption associated with supply and distribution of petroleum products in the downstream sector of the oil industry.

I call on you to suspend the fuel hike and re-enter into good-faith consultations with representatives of Nigerian workers and civil society.

Yours sincerely,
Ron Oswald,
General Secretary, IUF