Nigeria’s main labor union to strike over fuel subsidy removal

Long fuel line at a filling station in Lagos, Nigeria

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In what seemed to be his first official task, Nigeria’s 16th President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has declared an end to fuel subsidy in the country. 

Tinubu made the disclosure in his acceptance speech. 

“Unfortunately, the budget makes no provision for fuel subsidy. So fuel subsidy is gone,” Tinubu said shortly after his swearing-in at Eagle Square in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

His swearing-in, amidst pomp and pageantry, took place at 10:37 a.m. and was performed by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Olukayode Ariwola.

The new President’s acceptance speech had to wait till around 1:00 p.m. due to other inauguration formalities

President shortly after taking the Oath of Office proceeded to inspect the Brigade of Guards.

This was closely followed by a ceremonial parade, air display by the Nigerian Air Force, cultural display as well as 21 Gun Salute.

Senator Kashim Shettima was earlier sworn-in as the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at about 10:30 a.m.

Nigeria’s main labor union said on Friday it plans to go on strike from Wednesday to protest against a tripling of fuel prices in the country after new president Bola Tinubu scrapped a costly subsidy.

The government hopes the lifting of the fuel subsidies – which caused prices to rise to 557 naira per liter from 189 naira at the petrol pumps – will help alleviate a funding crisis in Africa’s biggest economy.

Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Joe Ajaero made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the union’s executive council in Abuja.

“The Nigeria Labour Congress decided that if by Wednesday next week that NNPC, a private limited liability company that illegally announced a price regime in the oil sector, refuses to revert itself for negotiations to continue, that the Nigeria Labour Congress and all its affiliates will withdraw their services and commence protests nationwide until this is complied with,” Ajaero said.

A wave of strikes ensued the last time Nigeria tried to introduce a similar measure in 2012, with authorities eventually reinstating some subsidies.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Angus MacSwan)

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