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Cablegate: Nigeria Nationwide Strike Sitrep #3: October 13

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 002096

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PGOV EPET KDEM ECON NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA NATIONWIDE STRIKE SITREP #3: OCTOBER 13

REF: A. LAGOS 2072
B. ABUJA 1727

This is a joint report from Embassy Abuja and Consulate Lagos.

1. (U) Summary: The nationwide strike in Nigeria continues
to be well-observed throughout most of Nigeria. Of major
cities, Abuja apparently has been least affected by the
strike. Despite on-going negotiations and intervening court
cases, the strike will likely continue tomorrow on what
should be the final day of this initial phase of the strike.
However, labor leaders threatened to prolong the initial
stay-at-home period because of deaths/casualties/arrests of
strike participants. Oil production remains unaffected. There
have been no reported security incidents involving American
citizens. End Summary.

----------------------
Political Developments
----------------------

2. (U) A National Labor Congress (NLC) contact told us the
GON had filed suit with an Abuja High Court seeking permanent
injunction barring the NLC from continuing the strike. The
contact said the suit was designed to force the NLC to
suspend the strike until the court could hear the case, which
could take months. If the court ruled against the NLC, NLC
leaders would be forced to choose between calling off the
strike or risking court sanctions, including possible arrest.

3. However, an official at the Federal Ministry of Labor and
Productivity told Embassy Abuja she did not think the GON is
seeking an injunction against the NLC. Rather, she believed,
the hearing today was on an appeal filed by the GON against
the injunction the NLC won earlier preventing the GON from
raising fuel prices. Mission was unable to confirm either
report or to ascertain the outcome of the court proceedings.
(COMMENT: Both sides are going to court to try to gain legal
justification for their positions. What happens in the court,
however, may be insignificant because at bottom, this is a
test of competing political wills and agendas. End comment.)

-------------------------------
Reports from around the Country
-------------------------------

3. (U) LAGOS: An NLC monitoring team reportedly was attacked
October 12 by a gang at Ojuelegba round-about. Another NLC
team clashed with police yesterday at Iyana-Ipaja. No serious
injuries were reported. Today, "area boys" are burning tires,
blocking traffic, and harassing motorists in the Aja area.
International flights are operating normally, but domestic
flights have been scaled back due to low numbers of
passengers. Most filling stations remain closed today. Banks
still report low staff turn-out; skeletal services are being
rendered at head offices and most branches are closed.
Contacts report that operations are significantly reduced at
Lagos and outlying ports. Military and police officers were
observed at the Lagos port facilities.

4. (U) Circumstances regarding the October 12 death of
aviation union activist Jerry Agbeyegbe remain cloudy (ref
b). Police initially claimed he died in a car accident; most
other reports indicate he was shot in his car sometime during
the early morning. The National Union of Air Transport
Employees (NUATE) and other aviation employee associations
are expected to issue statements today calling for a judicial
inquiry into the alleged killing. An autopsy is being
conducted.

5. (U) AWKA: Newspapers reported that the nine labor leaders
arrested on Monday were released on bail Tuesday, following a
protest march and pleas for their release by other labor
leaders.

6. (U) PORT HARCOURT: There was significant violence on
October 12 around Eleme Junction, following the shooting
death of an adult male (ref b). Fighting was also reported
around the Shell residential area and the airport. The city
is calmer today. The strike continues, but more vehicles are
on the road and some shops and markets are open. Oil service
company offices remain closed, but production operations
remain unaffected.

7. (U) WARRI: The strike continues in Warri. Police patrol
the streets. The commercial wing of the airport is closed.
Few filling stations are attending customers.

8. (U) ONITSHA: There is more movement of people and traffic
today. The main market and some government offices opened.
National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was reportedly
operating and collecting payments from customers. Some banks
also opened. Most schools remain closed.
9. (U) IBADAN: Like yesterday, people are moving freely and
schools are open. Most government offices remain closed.

10. (U) ENUGU: Public offices and schools remain closed.
Commercial activities continue unaffected.

11. (U) KADUNA: Offices and schools remain closed.
BROWNE

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