AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW: Nigerian unions brand Shell as enemy: “Union leaders singled out Shell, Nigeria's largest petroleum producer, which they accused of planning to try to block the strike in the courts. "We have resolved to declare Shell an enemy of the Nigerian people," Adams Oshiomhole, leader of the main Nigeria Labour Congress, told reporters.”: “Shell officials could not immediately be reached for comment.” (ShellNews.net)
Nov 01 07:39
Declaring Royal Dutch/Shell Group "an enemy of the Nigerian people", unions on Sunday called a November 16 nationwide strike that they said would target oil exports in Africa's oil giant.
The threats in the world's No 7 oil exporter appeared likely to send new shocks through the global oil price market.
Unions called the November 16 strike after giving President Olusegun Obasanjo until Sunday to reverse September's 23 per cent increase in fuel prices in Nigeria.
Union leaders singled out Shell, Nigeria's largest petroleum producer, which they accused of planning to try to block the strike in the courts.
"We have resolved to declare Shell an enemy of the Nigerian people," Adams Oshiomhole, leader of the main Nigeria Labour Congress, told reporters.
"Shell will be treated as an enemy. We have the capacity to engage them," he said.
Shell officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
An October general strike over the fuel price increases paralysed business, but left petroleum exports unaffected.
The strike helped push oil prices past the $US50 a barrel mark globally.
"The last time we did not target oil exports because we expected the government to listen," Brown Ogbeifun, president of the union for Nigeria's white-collar oil workers, said.
"Now that the government will not listen, we have no option but to target exports," Ogbeifun said.
Union leaders made no mention today of using violence to target Shell, but strikes in Nigeria often turn violent, at times deadly. Unrest - including kidnapping and sabotaging oil producers - over the past year has repeatedly shut down a significant portion of oil production in Nigeria.
Separately, gangs and ethnic militias vying for local shares of the oil wealth have repeatedly targeted foreign oil producers with kidnappings, takeovers and sabotage.
In March 2003, fighting between rival ethnic militia groups near the port city of Warri - which also drew in government troops - forced oil companies to shut down 40 per cent of Nigeria's oil exports for weeks. Much of that oil remains shut off.
Nigeria exports 2.5 million barrels a day. It is the fifth-largest source of US oil imports.