The price of crude oil has broken through the $50 barrier. A series of
events have contributed to this, the latest being the crisis in the
Niger Delta in Nigeria, where Ijaw rebels are threatening to attack oil
pipelines. These events are merely the extreme expression of a more
widespread crisis that Nigeria is facing.
The price of fuel has been increased by 25% and the Nigerian unions
have called a general strike for Monday, October 11. The logical next
step is for the unions to call for the resignation of the government
and for them to build their own party and challenge for power.
The leaders of the NLC have confirmed the strike is going ahead today.
Saturday’s arrest and injury of Adams Oshiomhole, President of the
Nigerian Labour Congress, is an indication of the tension building up.
After last week’s general strike in Nigeria the leaders of the Nigerian
Labour Congress (NLC) gave the government until October 27th to come up
with a reasonable proposal on the price of fuel, otherwise the strike
would resume. The leader of the NLC, Adamas Oshiomhole, has said that
in such a secenario the unions would make the country “ungovernable”.
This article was written by a member of the Editorial Board of the
Nigerian Marxist journal, the Workers’ Alternative. Shortly after we
received it we were informed that the government has increased the
price of fuel by a further 15 Naira. This can only be seen as a serious
provocation. It exposes the government for what it is. And it renders
almost impossible any idea of a deal between the unions and the
government. If the government does not back off on this then the
leaders of the Nigerian unions have no choice but to pull out all the
After the four-day warning general strike, the Nigerian unions are calling on workers to resume strike action on November 16. This time it will no longer be limited to the issue of the price of fuel. The situation is becoming very tense. The workers have reached the limit of what they can take. They are putting immense pressure on the leadership of the NLC to act decisively.
The planned November 16 general strike in Nigeria was called off at the
last minute after the government accepted a small reduction in the
price of fuel. We have seen this scenario before. The government has
been let off the hook yet again, but for how long?
The impasse of the Obasanjo regime has provoked one general strike
after another. The situation is very explosive. To try and divert
attention from the real issues the regime has now come up with the idea
of a delegate conference known as “National Dialogue”, which opened on
February 21. The petit-bourgeois opposition is calling for an
alternative conference. Both are clearly diversions aimed at holding
back the movement of the masses. The only way out is for the NLC
leaders to break with all these manoeuvres and build a party of labour.