Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) defied a court injunction and carried on with a planned strike on Wednesday.
Led by the union’s chairman, Ayuba Philibus Wabba, the protesters gathered in their numbers in Abuja to express their displeasure on the recent 67% increase in fuel prices.
On Monday, the Nigerian Ministry of Labour began talks behind closed doors with the trade unions but failed to reach an agreement at the end of the session on Tuesday at dawn. Trade Union Congress, the second labour union pulled out of the strike.
On the same day, the country’s National Industrial Court had ruled against the strike claiming it could cause civil disorder.
“Again we would like to report to Nigerians that the Industrial Court has given an injunction that no strike should hold tomorrow by NLC and TUC,” government secretary David Lawal said on Tuesday.
The Nigerian government had scrapped petrol subsidies by increasing fuel prices by two-thirds in a bid to curb an ongoing fuel shortage which has been worsened by a foreign exchange crisis.
A wave of strikes ensued the last time Nigeria tried to introduce a similar measure in 2012, and authorities eventually reinstated some subsidies.
According to Reuters, government offices, shops and banks in the capital Abuja were operating as usual on Wednesday.
Some 300 union activists gathered there to stage the march, and some 200 protested in the commercial capital Lagos, where some banks and many shops were also operating.