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Trade unions in Nigeria are threatening a three-day strike later this week that could shut down port operations at Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter.
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, demands that the government fix the road access and traffic bottlenecks on the roads leading to the ports and threatens to start a nationwide warning strike of three days beginning on Wednesday, local news outlet Vanguard reports.
“The implications are huge to the Nigerian economy and employment creation. The government must address the condition of the roads and find lasting solution to the gridlock,” representatives of the union said.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, said it wasn’t on strike, but maritime workers were free to go on a strike if such an action draws the attention of the government to the problem with the roads.
Nigeria’s federal government has appealed to the MWUN union not to proceed with the strike, saying that government intervention in fixing the problems was delayed by the pandemic and the recent protests in Nigeria.
Last month, major oil companies asked local authorities to boost surveillance on oil-producing and oil and infrastructure assets in Nigeria amid escalating protests against police brutality and plans for oil job cuts, industry sources told Reuters.
Nigerians have been protesting against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit for several weeks, calling for the authorities to disband it. Rights group say that the Nigerian army and police shot dead at least 12 peaceful protesters in Lagos in October. At times, protests across Nigeria turned into riots and looting.
Those protests haven’t spilled to Nigeria’s vital oil sector yet. The oil and gas industry accounts for around 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), while petroleum export revenue accounts for 86 percent of the total revenue from exports.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.