Nigerian strikes called off as Goodluck Jonathan succumbs to demands

“Given the hardships being suffered by Nigerians, and after due
consideration and consultations with state governors and the leadership of
the National Assembly, government has approved the reduction of the pump
price of petrol to 97 naira (about 40p) per litre,” the president said.

Unions had been calling for a return to the 26p-a-litre price seen last year,
before Mr Jonathan removed a state-funded subsidy on petrol.

That had kept costs artificially low and was sucking as much as £4.5 billion
out of the country’s exchequer each year.

“Internationally, it looks bad that Goodluck has capitulated after only a
week, when investors were told that he would stick to his guns on this
subsidy removal,” said one Western diplomat in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“But domestically it was getting to the point that he had no choice. The
question remains whether cutting a third off the new price is going to be
enough for the unions.”

Nigeria is one of Africa’s largest crude oil exporters and unions representing
oil workers had threatened to order their members to down tools if there was
no compromise this week.

“That may have been the last turn of the screw” for President
Jonathan, the diplomat added.

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