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Nigerians Poised to Protest University Shutdowns

FILE: Police guard the University of Abuja Staff Quarters in Abuja, Nigeria, 11.2.2021

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will embark on two-day protest on July 26 to demonstrate against a six-month shutdown of public universities across the country due to pay disagreements between the government and teachers, it said on Sunday.

The NLC, the country's main umbrella union said in a statement it will mobilize workers for the protest for good governance.

The NLC, which represents millions of workers across most sectors of Africa's biggest economy, said workers in the oil and gas industry, have threatened to join the striking teachers, a situation that could worsen fuel shortages in the country.

Strikes by Nigerian public university teachers are common. The current strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities started on Feb. 14. A previous one in 2020 lasted nine months.

Pay and teaching facilities have led to previous strikes against the government which provides the bulk of funding for public schools.

Nigeria faces mounting insecurity following a wave of kidnappings, high unemployment, inflation and low growth which could trigger unrest. Meanwhile, the government is experiencing low revenues and large deficits, despite high oil prices.

Nigerians will hold a general election early next year to choose a new president, state governors and lawmakers.