General strike paralyses Nigeria

Lagos, Jun. 4, (dpa/GNA) – Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, came to a standstill on Monday due to a nationwide general strike in favour of an increase in the minimum wage.

Members of the largest trade unions in the country with a population of 220 million paralysed the power grid, airports, industrial ports and numerous public service providers. Banks, schools and government offices remained closed. According to the trade unions, the strike is indefinite.

The West African country is facing its worst economic crisis in more than two decades.

The unions are demanding a substantial increase in the monthly minimum wage from the current 30,000 nairas ($20.58) to just under 500,000 nairas. The government has offered to double the curent rate to 60,000 nairas.

According to the trade unions, the current minimum wage is barely enough to buy a loaf of bread a day.

Information Minister Mohammed Idris, on the other hand, stated that the government could not respond any further to the unions’ demands, as otherwise the economy would be “destabilized.”

Nigerians blame President Bola Tinubu’s economic reforms for the rapid rise in inflation, which has led to a massive increase in the cost of living in the oil-rich West African country.

Shortly after taking office 13 months ago, Tinubu abolished fuel subsidies and devalued the national currency in order to attract foreign investors. According to analysts, the reforms led to a doubling of petrol prices, rising food and transport costs and an increase in the price of imported products.