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AFX Europe (Focus): Nigerian oil workers to begin ‘warning strike’ Sept 13 over unrest

AFX Europe (Focus)
Published: Aug 31, 2006

LAGOS (AFX) – Nigeria’s two main oil workers unions will begin a three-day warning strike on Sept 13 in protest against a wave of kidnappings and violence in the Niger Delta, a union official said.

The national executive committees of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) took the decision late yesterday in the southern town of Benin, the labour leader, who attended the meeting, told Agence France-Presse.

“We have given the federal government an ultimatum to stem the violence and address the security situation in the Niger Delta. But if they fail to do so by Wednesday September 13, we will proceed on a three-day warning strike,” he said.

“We will ask our members to quit the region for the three days. Oil production and exports and even, loading of petrol, will be halted for the period of the warning strike,” he said.

He said the unions were also sad that one of its members, a Nigerian employee of Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell, was killed during fighting between militants and troops in the region.

Shell confirmed the death of Nelson Ujeya, who was involved in a security incident o August 20, in a statement on Tuesday.

The Niger Delta has seen an upsurge in violence in recent months with more than 40 foreign oil workers kidnapped but released by separatist fighters seeking greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth.

Last week, PENGASSAN Presdient Peter Esele threatened to pull oil workers out of the region unless the violence was stopped.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is the world’s sixth biggest crude exporter with 2.6 mln barrels per day, but 20 pct of that figure is currently lost to unrest in the region.

The Niger Delta is home to Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil and gas resources, but poverty in the region is pervasive and the majority of its inhabitants live on less than one dollar per day. [email protected] afp/cml

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