Nigerian trade unions organised a four-day general strike against fuel price rises in October, and have vowed to call an indefinite stoppage if the government fails to lower the price of petrol.
The strike shut down banks, businesses, shops and public services.
Fuel costs have been rising — petrol by 25% — since President Obasanjo deregulated the sector a year ago and removed government subsidies.
Despite Nigeria’s oil wealth, most of the population lives in poverty. Two-thirds live on less than a dollar a day and many see cheap fuel as the only benefit they receive. This is the third general strike over fuel prices in 18 months. After the last strike in June, Obasanjo introduced legislation which reduced the powers of the Nigeria Labour Congress, making it more difficult for unions to go on strike.