afrol News, 10 June - The Nigerian Police this morning in Abuja invaded the National Headquarters of the trade union, resulting in the shooting of two workers. Labour leaders nevertheless today announced that the nationwide strike and mass protests against increases in the prices of fuel is to go into third day.
Adams Oshiomhole, leader of the powerful Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), today in Abuja announced the continuance of the mass action against increased fuel prices. He urged workers and the Nigerian people to "continue to participate in the action until justice is attained."
The decision to continue the strike and protests came despite an announcement by petrol distributors that fuel prices would be cut. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo earlier had bowed into pressure, ordering fuel resellers to comply with a court order to lower their rates.
At an Abuja press conference, NLC leader Oshiomhole however said that on monitoring of fuel stations in Abuja, it was "apparent that most stations have complied, but this is not true in other parts of the country."
The trade union leader now left it up to the Department of Petroleum Resources to "live up to its mandate and ensure that fuel stations sell at the reduced prices or seal off those that have not complied." This was made the condition for calling off the NLC's strike order, he explained.
The general strike was called for on Wednesday as the union observed that a 9 February court order in its favour was not being respected by petrol stations. After a similar strike over government-raised fuel prices in February, a court ordered the union to stop the strike and froze fuel prices at about naira 40 per litre.
Since then, however, most private petrol stations slowly have increased fuel prices, reaching an average of around naira 52, causing anger among Nigerians. The NLC had thus resumed its February strike "when government carried out increases in fuel price in violation of the ruling of the court," according to Mr Oshiomhole.
While President Obasanjo today urged petrol stations to follow by the February court ruling, many distributors pledged to reintroduce lower prices. The NLC, on the other hand, pledged to monitor the situation throughout the country and call off the strike action when the orders were complied to.
The climate between the parties this morning however suffered from a police attack on the trade union's Abuja headquarters, where two members of the Motorcyclists Association had been injured by the police.
Mr Oshiomhole condemned the police action in very strong terms, saying that the two injured motorcyclists "had conducted themselves peacefully and orderly when the police shot at them." He informed the press that the matter has been taken up with the police authorities and a full investigation would be carried out.
The incident occurred at the gates of the NLC headquarters, were over 100 heavily armed policemen had attempted to forcefully gain entrance into the offices of the trade union. While three police officers managed to enter the premises, workers barricaded and locked the gates against the remaining forces, which threatened and applied force, to no avail.
- During the incident, NLC President Oshiomhole came down from his offices and led workers to confront the police, who later left after a long drawn exchange of words, according to a statement by the trade union. Except for this incident, the strike and mass protests have been peaceful throughout the country.
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.