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Nigerian General Strike Enters Second Day


A general strike has brought much of Nigeria to a standstill and paralyzed economic activity for a second day. For VOA, Gilbert da Costa in Abuja reports on worries about the economic impact of the shutdown.

Government offices remain shut across Nigeria as unions and the government failed to break the stalemate on gasoline price increases.

Ports, schools, banks and many private businesses have been closed, and there is minimal public transport. Domestic and most international flights have been canceled.

So far unions have spared oil exports, but are now threatening to withdraw key staff from oil fields and export terminals by midnight Thursday.

Mike Obadan, an economics professor at the University of Benin in Western Nigeria, says the economic implication of the shutdown could be very profound.

"We are talking about revitalizing production and now there is energy crisis because of the strike," he noted. "The strike has negative impact on production. So, the strike definitely is affecting all aspects of the economy."

Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil producer, has lost about $16 billion in revenue since 2005 because of violence in its oil-producing southern region.

The government has described the strike as politically motivated and warned unionists not to blockade roads or prevent people working if they wanted.

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