THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (Posted Nov 4 04): UPDATE: Nigeria Union Grp Holds Rally Over Nov 16 Strike: “Nigerian labor leaders and activists vowed at a massive rally Wednesday to go ahead with a Nov. 16 general strike, while a tribal leader singled out Royal Dutch/Shell Group as a possible target of attack if workers cross picket lines.” (ShellNews.net)
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
(Updates an item published at 0931 GMT with rally held, tribes threatening to kidnap oil workers crossing picket lines.)
LAGOS -- Nigerian labor leaders and activists vowed at a massive rally Wednesday to go ahead with a Nov. 16 general strike, while a tribal leader singled out Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD, SC) as a possible target of attack if workers cross picket lines.
About 100,000 people gathered in suburbs across Lagos for a demonstration organized by the Nigeria Labor Congress and human rights organizations ahead of a Nov. 16 indefinite strike protesting government fuel hikes.
"On the 16th, we begin the struggle against dictatorship, against hunger, and against unemployment," Adams Oshiomhole, the president of the NLC said at the Yaba motor park. However, his speech was cut short when police ordered him to stop.
Earlier at the venue, a leader of the Ijaw tribe warned that oil workers who operated during the strike period risked being kidnapped.
"Any oil worker seen at a flow station will be attacked and kidnapped," Joseph Eva, coordinator for the Ijaw Monitoring Group, told reporters.
He said especially at risk were employees of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Shell 's local joint venture, branded "enemy of the Nigerian people" by NLC, for taking a legal action against its workers' unions.
Eva said his group was working with Moujahid Dokubo-Asari, who in September ordered all foreign oil workers in Ijaw land to leave by Oct. 1 or risk being attacked. The government struck a deal with Dokubo-Asari agreeing to buy his arms.
Earlier in the day, human rights groups said the strike was a fight against unpopular government policies.
Activist Beko Ransome-Kuti said the strike was to protest the government's increase in the price of petrol to 52 naira ($1=NGN132), up from NGN20 in five years.
Labor leaders said the rally was the first in a series of campaigns planned to mobilize Nigerians for the Nov. 16 strike.
Nigeria is the world's seventh biggest oil producer and a leading exporter to the U.S.
-By Vincent Nwanma; Dow Jones Newswires; +234-1-585-0849; firstname.lastname@example.org