Strike action cost Nigeria N500 billion – CBN

Police arrest 130 over bonfire in Lagos

Uduma Kalu &
Albert Akpor

14 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – Nigeria’s five-day, nationwide strikes against the government’s removal of fuel subsidies cost Africa’s second largest economy about N100 billion (403 million pounds) a day, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, has said.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said he expected inflation to rise to around 14-15 percent by the middle of this year, up from 10.5 percent now, as the impact of subsidy removal is felt on prices.

“Clearly inflation was always going to go up with the removal of subsidy. I think what we’ve seen is the immediate shock impact of a sudden removal and things will settle down,” Sanusi went on.

“It took us two and a half years, from 2009, to come down to single-digit from 15.6 percent. I think a realistic target, if we actually hit 15 percent, I think we will be looking at end of 2013 before we come back to single-digits.”

Sanusi said it was positive that negotiations were ongoing but he urged government to agree a deadline with unions for removing fuel subsidies altogether, rather than leaving it open ended, which could lead to public demonstrations in the future.

“I think it’s time to make a deal … any kind of compromise should have a final deadline for removal of subsidy,” he said, adding that options could include capping prices at 100 naira a litre and phasing out subsidies, although he said details would have to be left to the government and workers.

LAGOS- FOLLOWING the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Azubuko Uda, directive Thursay in Lagos to commence arrest of miscreants who set bonfire along major roads, Police authorities in Lagos Frtiday announed the arrest 130 people in the state for the offence.

The arrest, sources said, was carried out at various locations in the metropolis. According to sources, as early as 7.00am, police detachment stormed major roads in the state where it discovered that street urchins, popularly called area boys, were setting bonfire and dispossessing innocent persons of their money and valuables. They were promptly arrested.

The roads and areas where arrests were made included the Apapa/Oshodi expressway, the Okorodu road, Obalende, Ijora and Iyana-Ipaja.

DIG Uda had on Thursday in Lagos after a closed door meeting with senior police officers in the state issued a stern warning against the setting of bonfire on majors roads and streets in the state saying that it was capable of destroying federal government facilities buried underground.

Aside this, the police boss noted that the very essence of the protest by organised labour over fuel subsidy removal was being hijacked by the miscreants.

He therefore, vowed that the police was commencing arrest of such unwanted elements in the society.

The state police pub;ic relations officer, Mr. Sameul Jinadu, who confirmed the arrests, said they will be screend individually to ascertained their respective involvement, adding that those culpable will be prosecuted for conduct likely to cause breach of peace.

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