Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday petrol prices would be reduced
and labour unions agreed to suspend mass protests to allow further negotiations with
the government. Tens of thousands took to the streets for strikes over five successive
days last week in protest against the sudden removal of a fuel subsidy on Jan. 1 that
more than doubled the pump price of petrol. Jonathan met unions late on Sunday to
try and find a compromise to end the strikes, which are due to resume on Monday. He
said the talks had "yielded no tangible result" and pledged to continue along the
path of removing subsidies.
"Government will continue to pursue full deregulation
of the downstream petroleum sector. However, given the hardships being suffered by
Nigerians, and after due consideration and consultations ... government has approved
the reduction of the pump price of petrol," he said in a pre-recorded speech. Nigeria's
main labout unions said they would suspend street protests but strikes that have paralysed
Africa's second-largest economy would go ahead pending further talks on Monday.