Viewing cable 03LAGOS2058
Title: NLC PLANS TO BOYCOTT ALL AFRICA GAMES AS PART OF A

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03LAGOS20582003-10-03 15:26:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Lagos
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 002058 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
AMEMBASSY GABORONE FOR LESLIE BASSETT 
AMEMBASSY FREETOWN FOR ALEX SEVERENS 
OPIC COLLECTIVE FOR CONAL DUFFY 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2013 
TAGS: ASEC CASC ELAB ENRG EPET KDEM NI PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: NLC PLANS TO BOYCOTT ALL AFRICA GAMES AS PART OF A 
NATIONAL PROTEST AGAINST THE GAS PRICE HIKE 
 
REF: LAGOS 02043 ABUJA 01700 
 
 
Classified By: Laboff Michael Veasy Reason: 1.5 (B & D) 
 
 
¶1. (U)  On October 1, gas stations throughout the nation 
increased their prices from 34 naira per liter to 39.5 naira 
in Lagos and Abuja and as much as 60 naira per liter in 
several states in the east. While the majority of gas 
stations have raised prices (a handful of Nigerian National 
Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pumps are still charging 34 
naira).  Although the GON announced the start of deregulation 
of gas prices, it did not specifically mention an increase. 
Following the price hike, The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) 
announced that it plans to protest the overnight increases in 
fuel prices by calling a general strike and asking all 
Nigerians not to attend the upcoming All Africa Games. 
 
 
¶2. (U)  The NLC has moved up its National Executive Council 
meeting from October 6 to October 4 in Ibadan so that labor 
leaders have more time to organize if they decide to begin 
mass protest on Monday.  Labor leaders also met with 
forty-two human rights organizations in Lagos midday on 
October 3 to formulate a unified strategy.  In addition, the 
NLC has received support from the Congress of Free Trade 
Unions (CFTU), Nigeria's newest trade union center.  The 
CFTU is comprised of senior staff associations who 
disassociated themselves from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) 
following complaints that the TUC leadership misled its 
constituents during the previous gas price strike in June. 
 
 
¶3. (U)  Laboff spoke with Bayo Olowoshile, Acting General 
Secretary of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff 
 
SIPDIS 
Association of Nigeria, who expressed concern about 
Nigeria's image as it prepares for the All Africa Games. 
PENGASSAN represents managers and senior-level employees 
within the petroleum sector.  Consistent with its softer 
stance during the previous strike, which prompted the TUC 
split, Olowoshile told Laboff that PENGASSAN is trying to 
convince the NLC to shelve the strike and seek other options. 
 However, NLC General Secretary John Odah said the NLC 
remains unsympathetic with regard to the impact on the games, 
since the GON was aware of the possible fallout. 
 
 
¶4. (C)  NLC President Adams Oshiomhole told Poloff that 
PENGASSAN is not on board for a national strike, but he 
thought they would come around when they were isolated.  He 
said NUPENG would not take independent action such as telling 
its workers to stop hauling gasoline.  However, he was quite 
loud and clear to poloff and several other interlocutors that 
the problem was Obasanjo trying to get his way without 
consulting, not deregulation per se.  He said Obasanjo could 
have talked with the NLC and other stakeholders about a small 
price hike if the GON needed money for the All Africa Games 
or other projects, and would probably have won agreement to 
adding 2-4 naira. 
 
 
¶5. (U)  In Lagos, labor leaders will probably extend their 
efforts to incorporate growing protests over recent 
restrictions on danfo buses, since they see the ban as 
another example of government policies that have increased 
transportation costs for Nigerian workers whose salaries are 
already well below an acceptable living wage.  Danfo buses 
serve as an informal public transportation system widely used 
throughout the country by a majority of Nigerians.  Workers 
claim that the decision to replace danfo buses with city 
buses in parts of Lagos has failed to provide viable options, 
since the new public transportation has extremely limited 
capacity to accommodate the large number of Nigerians who 
previously used the informal system.  In addition, the cost 
of public transportation has increased more than fifty 
percent. For example, commuters who paid 20 naira for danfo 
buses in Lagos are now paying 50 naira for 
government-operated transport. 
 
 
¶6. (C)  Comment:  The issue of gas price deregulation was 
noticeably absent from President Obasanjo's October 1 
Independence Day address, which has led to claims by NGOs and 
labor leaders that the GON intentionally deceived the 
Nigerian public.  Labor will use this claim to mobilize 
general support of its planned boycott of the All Africa 
games in Abuja.  Senior GON officials told Econoff that the 
deregulation decision was taken two weeks ago in the Federal 
Executive Council.  The GON plan was to say nothing and 
access the climate after deregulation took effect, adding 
that the non-announcement gives the GON the ability to fine 
tune its position if there is a major labor crisis. 
 
 
¶7. (U)  There is a fair amount of disingenuous behavior on 
both sides.  The GON is claiming that it deregulated but did 
not "increase" the price, while the unions claim that they 
were not warned.  In fact, everyone has been waiting since 
July for the price increase shoe to drop.  The outstanding 
question is whether the games or unrest will force the GON to 
back down again. 
 
 
¶8. (C)  For his part, Mobil Managing Director Mike Fry said 
that while he was not responsible for Mobil's downstream 
operations, he believed Mobil, CTN and Agip would all keep 
their prices across the country in the 38-39.5 naira band for 
October in response to the letter of instructions from the 
GON, but raise prices gradually to the 58-60 naira break-even 
price for importing gasoline.   End comment. 
HINSON-JONES