Nigerian oil union leaders banned
Thursday 18 August 1994
The move by General Sanni Abacha, who seized power from a civilian head of state in November, is the latest escalation in a showdown between the military dictatorship and a growing opposition movement.
General Abacha said he was sacking the executive councils of the two national oil unions - Nupeng and Pengassan - and of the Nigerian Labour Congress, the trade association that represents 5 million industrial workers. He is to replace them with military-appointed administrators. The rare speech to the nation was broadcast on national television and radio.
Union leaders who have been expecting such a ban have warned they would organise an underground resistance to the government. Frank Korkori, head of Nupeng (the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers), denounced the speech. General Abacha had jailed Mr Korkori at the outset of the strike then was pressured to free him. 'It is our intention to fight this arbitrary dictatorship,' he said. 'The government has no right to dissolve us. We have sent signals to all our branches to ignore it.'
Nigeria has been in crisis ever since the military annulled the 12 June 1993 presidential election apparently won by Moshood Abiola. The election was aimed at ending a decade of military rule. Chief Abiola was arrested after declaring himself president to mark the first anniversary of the election. Oil workers went on strike in protest on 4 July, crippling the country's main industry.
'It is a selfish motive, ruthless in execution and sadistic in expectations,' General Abacha said of the oil strikes. He also said he would not free Chief Abiola, who is on trial for treason, claiming it was up to the government-controlled court system to determine whether he should be freed.
Since toppling a civilian figurehead in November, General Abacha has dissolved all elected legislatures, closed respected newspapers and jailed human rights activists and politicians critical of his regime. But he has not been able to contain the oil strike, which has cut Nigeria's vital oil production in half and triggered fuel shortages across the country.
Animals found with 'puncture holes the size of a human finger'
Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Sarah Vine on Jack Monroe being a lesbian mother: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
Michael Brown shooting: Ten things we know – or know better – now the Ferguson grand jury's work is over
Ferguson riots: The most powerful images to emerge from protests over Michael Brown killing
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...
£40000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Systems Developer (C/C+...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Systems Manager ...
£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful, VC-funded star...