Nigeria: Nation Shut Down

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June 23, 2007: The nationwide strike is causing oil exports to decline. There is a nationwide fuel shortage because the fuel truck drivers have been off the roads for a week. If the government rescinds the increase, the government will have to pay for it, because refined fuel has to be imported at a higher price than it is sold for. That argument doesn't fly with the unions or most Nigerians, because they know that most of the oil revenue, over the last half century, has been stolen by corrupt government officials. Cheap gasoline is one way to get some of that oil wealth, if the price is low enough.

June 22, 2007: Russia has sent some of its Special Forces commandos to Nigeria, to assist in freeing kidnapped Russian citizens.

June 21, 2007: The army attacked a rebel held oil production camp, killing twelve rebels and freeing 27 hostages.

June 18, 2007: Gunmen attacked and captured an oil camp in the Niger Delta, taking 27 employees captive. The oil camp operates wells that produce 40,000 barrels of oil a day.

June 15, 2007: The Joint Revolutionary Council, which says it speaks for all the rebel groups in the Niger Delta, said rebel operations would be suspended because the government had released a senior rebel leader, and was now willing to talk peace. But five more foreigners were kidnapped in the Niger Delta, despite increased security measures. The ransoms are attracting more kidnappers, and many of these gangs answer to no one. Meanwhile, unions are planning a national strike, to get fuel price increases reversed, to begin on the 20th. Some truck drivers, particularly those who move fuel, have already gone on strike. Because of corrupt politicians who wanted to sell gasoline, oil rich Nigeria has little refinery capacity, and imports most gasoline, and other refined petroleum products. The government loses money on that, because the prices are too low. Recent eight cent gasoline price increases, to about $2.23 a gallon, has caused massive unrest.

 

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