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Nigerians defy strike ban after fuel hikes

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 01:24

A Nigerian union has defied a court ban to launch a general strike in protest at a planned hefty increase in fuel prices, though many businesses and government offices opened as normal. Laura Frykberg reports

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UPSOT In the Nigerian city of Lagos, they're angry. Times are tough, and the government wants people to pay more at the petrol pump. Pushing prices up by two-thirds. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAGOS STATE COUNCIL TREASURER, NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS, ADESEGUN RAHEEM, SAYING: "The poor are becoming poorer while the rich are becoming richer." Nigeria relies on oil for almost three-quarters of its revenue. It imports almost all of it, many of its own refineries have been ruined by criminal gangs. As international prices have plummeted over the past year and a half, Africa's largest economy has been left out of pocket. And a recent turnaround could be short-lived. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER SAYING: "We're getting close to the 50 dollar barrel mark with brent crude. At the moment we are seeing falling US production, that is outweighing what is still increasing production from OPEC. But if the US starts producing again, that rise in the oil price is going to be self-defeating." When the government tried to hike oil prices four years ago there were similar protests. It eventually reinstated some subsidies, these demonstrators are hoping for a similar result. It might be a harder ask this time though, the country is facing its worst oil crisis in five years.

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Nigerians defy strike ban after fuel hikes

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 01:24