LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerians angry at rising fuel
prices expanded a nationwide strike yesterday that has helped push
world oil prices to record highs.

There was no immediate impact on the flow of oil from this
volatile West African nation, the continent’s largest oil
producer and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.

Streets in the normally bustling commercial capital of Lagos
were deserted for a second day as police with assault rifles
guarded major intersections.

“The strike is going on. It is entering its second
day,” said Owei Lekeimfa, spokesman for the Nigeria Labor
Congress, the country’s biggest labor federation. The work
stoppage is to last four days.

“Production is not affected,” said a Udom Inoyo, a
spokesman for Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of
ExxonMobil, the second biggest producer in Nigeria. He declined to
elaborate on staffing levels at the firm.

An official for Royal Dutch/Shell, which accounts for roughly
half of Nigeria’s oil exports, said its executive offices in
Lagos were roughly “40 percent” staffed, and that the
company has put in “measures to downplay the
effect,”

Other major cities were shut down by the strike, although taxis
and many private businesses were still open in the capital,
Abuja.

Hundreds of protesters took to almost deserted streets in Lagos
and the northern city of Kano on Monday, as most workers stayed at
home in response to the strike call. In Kano, police said a
12-year-old boy was killed in clashes between police and
protesters.

The strike spread in some cities yesterday. Nigeria’s
large market in the southeastern city of Onitsha — a bazaar
for everything from locally made car parts to groceries —
shut down.

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