Fuel subsidy: Labour-Govt negotiations deadlocked

*Talks break for a day, Labour says strike continues

*Abia workers defy order to return to work

*Police kill one, injure many in Kogi subsidy protest

12 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – Negotiations on Thursday between labour leaders and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan made progress but have not concluded and a nationwide strike will continue, a union leader said.

“The outcome is that we have not concluded discussions yet, but we have had very fruitful discussions,” Nigeria Labour Congress president Abdulwahed Omar told journalists on the fourth day of the strike.

“We have to continue on Saturday afternoon… Until we conclude the discussions, we maintain the status quo,” he said after talks broke up for the day.

The meeting between labour leaders and Jonathan was the first since the strike that has brought tens of thousands into the streets in protest against the scrapping of fuel subsidies began on Monday.

Earlier Thursday, Nigeria’s main oil workers union said it would begin shutting down crude production on Sunday in Africa’s largest oil producer as it piled pressure on the president ahead of the talks.

ABA – Civil servants of two local councils in Aba, Abia State, and other government establishments in the city, have refused to obey the resolution of Abia State House Assembly to return to work.

The House had on January 10 at its plenary session resolved that the workers should go back to work.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the gates of Aba North, Aba South Local Government Areas, Abia State Teaching Hospital and State Fire Service in Aba were under lock and key.

However, security operatives were seen at the gates of these offices to forestall any attack.

The federal establishments in the city, including the National Agency for Food, Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC), High Courts and Magistrate’s Court were deserted by the workers.

Meanwhile, lawyers in Aba on Wednesday had a peaceful demonstration in spite of attempts by the police to stop them.

Some of the placards of the lawyers read: “We love President Goodluck Jonathan, but we hate his fuel subsidy removal; NBA Aba says no to fuel subsidy removal; and Aba lawyers are against fuel subsidy removal’’.

LOKOJA – One person was shot dead and several others injured when armed policemen and soldiers involved in the control of anti-fuel subsidy withdrawal protest invaded Kabawa area of Lokoja on Thursday ,the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The protesters had gathered at the Freedom Square at about 8.am to continue with their peaceful protest when armed policemen and soldiers arrived and fired tear gas canisters to dislodge them.

Reports alleged that it was in the process of scaring away the protesters that a 25-year-old man identified as Anas Gambo, was shot from behind at Madabo quarters by a security man.

An eyewitness told NAN that the police also went away with the corpse, while several other women and children sustained various degrees of injuries.

NAN also reports that a team of lawyers from the state chapter of the NBA narrowly escaped death when they were attacked by the angry youths, thinking they were NLC leaders who they accused of betrayal.

The team was actually going to the deceased’s home to obtain more information about his death when they ran into the youths.

Two leaders of the Lokoja branch of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) had earlier been picked up by the police on their way to a meeting at the local government secretariat.

The leaders, Abdulahi Ademu and Danladi Mayaki, the President and Vice-President of the NYCN respectively, were on their way to the meeting when they were arrested, according to the Secretary of the council, Mr Abdulkadir Ismaila.

Ismaila urged the police to release the two men immediately in the interest of peace.

The Police Commissioner in the state, Mr Marvel Akpoyibo, had on Wednesday warned that street protest and blockade of roads would no longer be allowed in Lokoja and other towns.

The warning was sequel to an agreement between the police and the leadership of the NLC and TUC as well as the civil society groups to suspend street protest.

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  • God and posterity will not forget whoever brought up this idea of impoverishing Nigerians the more and made the president to bought it. All these politicians, do they buy fuel with their hard earn money? Do they know what it means to pay transport doubling the amount you use to pay? Now they are killing innocent Nigerians. Posterity will ever be greatful to us that we refuse to allow them to take us as fools.