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Nigerian oil union considering strike

LAGOS, Nigeria, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- All production platforms in Nigeria are called on to get ready to shut down oil production in protest of an end to a fuel subsidy, a union boss said.

Nigeria has been plagued by violence and mass demonstrations since a fuel subsidy in place for roughly 40 years ended at the beginning of the year. That decision pushed petrol prices to record levels, though the government said it could no longer afford to keep the subsidy in place.

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Babatunde Ogun, president of oil union Pengassen, said his supporters were considering joining the demonstrations in an effort to shut down oil production in the country.

"Now that the federal government has decided to be callous-minded, we hereby direct all production platforms to be on red alert in preparation for total production shutdown," he was quoted by the Financial Times as saying.

Nigeria is one of Africa's top oil producers, averaging about 2 million barrels of crude oil exports per day.

Pengassen said it hadn't yet committed formally to joining nationwide protests but stopped sending oil production reports to the government.

The fuel protests are compounded by increased insurgent activity from Islamic sect Boko Haram, which has targeted the Christian population of the country in recent weeks.

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