Thousands of oil workers ended a devastating 2-month strike Monday. Union leaders had complained the public didn't support their attempt to restore democracy to Africa's most populous nation.
The collapse of the strike was a victory for Gen. Sani Abacha's military regime. Oil sales provide 90 percent of Nigeria's export revenues, and fuel shortages paralyzed much of its faltering economy."We are fully back at work today," said Diji Egwaoje, chief of press relations for Shell-Nigeria, which produces more than 50 percent of Nigerian petroleum.
Strikers returned to work before a planned meeting Monday by union leaders to formally declare an end to the walkout. Reports indicated nearly all of the 100,000-strong petroleum work force were at their posts this morning.
Developments in the strike drove international oil prices up and down over the past two months. They rose last week after Oil Minister Umar Baba confirmed the strike had cut Nigeria's production by about 29 percent.
Nigeria is one of the world's largest oil producers and a member of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Output fell by 300,000 barrels a day in August to an average of 1.47 million barrels a day.