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Obasanjo Skips Meeting With Nigeria Oil Workers Unions


Nigeria's president called for a meeting with oil workers' unions later this week after failing to show up to talk with them on Tuesday.

President Obasanjo also invited state governors and oil company executives to the meeting on Thursday. A statement from the presidency said Mr. Obasanjo is committed to resolving all issues in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Representatives of the two main oil workers' unions, PENGASSAN and NUPENG waited in vain Tuesday to meet with Mr. Obasanjo in the capital, Abuja. The unions have threatened to go on strike unless security is improved in the Niger Delta.

Gunmen in the region carry out frequent kidnappings and attacks on oil facilities.

Tuesday, two Italian and one Lebanese oil worker said in an interview that they were disappointed in what they said was a lack of action to free them.

The hostages told an Italian reporter, from the communist party newspaper Il Manifesto that they are disappointed with the Italian government and their company, Agip, which they say are leaving them to rot in the jungle.

Both Agip and the Italian government rejected the allegations and say they are doing all they can to secure the hostages' release.

Also Tuesday, reports from Nigeria said gunmen kidnapped a Philippine oil worker and killed a policeman who was escorting him.

A total of 25 Filipinos are now in captivity in Nigeria. The 24 others were abducted from a cargo ship in the Niger Delta last month.

The kidnappings and violence have held down Nigerian oil production for the past year and have contributed to high world oil prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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