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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nigerian Unions Halt Strike After Pressure and 10 Deaths

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigeria's unions said Tuesday that they were calling off a weeklong general strike over fuel prices after reaching a deal with the government days before the arrival of U.S. President George W. Bush. But they said President Olusegun Obasanjo must investigate "the murder of innocent and defenseless Nigerians by the police."

The leaders of the umbrella Nigeria Labor Congress said after an all-night meeting that they are ending the strike to ease ordinary Nigerians' suffering.

"Having also compelled the federal government to back down and reduce the [fuel] price from 40 naira ($0.31) to 34 naira per liter, the nationwide strike action and mass protest is suspended."

The unions had come under pressure, even from sympathetic politicians, to call off the action after riots and economic hardship.

Nigeria's top union official, Adams Oshiomhole, called for a public inquiry into the alleged killing of at least 10 protesters in the oil-producing country.

Lagos police denied the killings, but acknowledged what they said was one accidental death and spoke of serious gun battles Monday with "hoodlums" who set a police car ablaze.

The leaders of Nigeria's National Assembly rose in support of the union and vowed to open an inquiry to uncover what happened in Lagos.

"I am startled that 10 lives were lost and that further complicates the matter. We must all call for a thorough investigation," Senate President Adolphos Wabara told the meeting.

On Monday, protesters blocked major roads and torched piles of tires in the impoverished western part of Lagos. Police fired volleys of teargas in several districts to disperse rioters, residents said.

The strike came amid tensions in Africa's most populous country over charges that Obasanjo's re-election in April was rigged.