Recent rumblings about plans by Nigeria’s major oil union to wade into the fray and join the ongoing protests by organised labour and civil society groups have been confirmed. In a statement issued by the union’s president, Babatunde Ogun, “We are hereby notifying the Federal Government of Nigeria … that PENGASSAN (The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria) shall be forced to go ahead and apply the bitter option of ordering the systematic shutting down of oil and gas production with effect from … 00:00 hours on Sunday Jan 15”.
With PENGASSAN’s decision to descend into the arena, the case against fuel subsidy removal becomes much stronger, given the negative consequences that a halt in oil exports will have on the economy. Till now, the government has remained unshaken in its resolve to carry on with its unpopular policy, in the face of mass protests all over the country. However, there is speculation that an agreement might be reached at the ongoing meeting between the leadership of the NLC and the Federal government.