News / Africa

Protests Follow End of Nigeria Fuel Subsidy

Protesters hold placards, shout slogans on Ikorodu road in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, January 3, 2012.
Protesters hold placards, shout slogans on Ikorodu road in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, January 3, 2012.
Nick Loomis

Nigerians are protesting their government’s decision to end a fuel subsidy at the first of the year.  The demonstrations could further strain Nigeria’s already shaky security situation.

Fuel Prices in Nigeria

  • New Gas Station Price: $0.89 per liter
  • Previous Gas Station Price: $0.40 per liter
  • New Black Market Price: $1:25 per liter

After months of planning, the government made its move to end the subsidies that it says were wasteful and discouraged investment in the oil sector.  At a news conference in Lagos before the implementation, the minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, tried to sell the changes to the public.

"We are looking not in fact at necessarily at subsidy removal, if you want to call it.  It is actually a subsidy transfer, because we are looking at the real benefits to the economy and to Nigerians, that can be handed over to Nigerians, that all Nigerians across the spectrum will feel and see from the get go," Allison-Madueke stated.

But that argument is not sitting well with the average Nigerian, who earns less than $2 per day. Many have taken to the streets to protest fuel costs, which have more than doubled in a few days and have led to other cost-of-living increases.

Chief Okoro Samson is a community leader in Delta state. “Just take a walk around the city and you know everyone is angry. Transport fares have increased by 150 percent. By the time everything will rise up. It's called devaluation of minimum wage,” he said.

Nigeria is Africa's largest producer of oil, and the $7.5-billion subsidy was the only tangible benefit for most people there. But a lack of investment in refineries means that most of the country's oil is exported, and the government says that it can no longer afford to subsidize refined fuel.  It spent more than $16 billion to import fuel in 2011.

President Goodluck Jonathan says that money can be better spent on infrastructure and social programs.

Community leader Samson says the rising costs come at a bad time in Nigeria.

“You risk demonstration in this country and protests broke. You can't contain it because the terrorists, the so-called Boko Haram, will take advantage of it and launch their attacks everywhere,” Samson said.

Protests continued Tuesday in Lagos, which has not experienced the attacks of Boko Haram in the north.  For many in the south, the enemy is the government of President Jonathan. 

Seun Kuti is the son of musician Fela Kuti.  He addressed protesters in the southern city. "Jonathan is Nigeria's only terrorist. We cannot agree to this kind of financial IMF terror. Nigeria cannot pay the same price of petrol as Americans. We don't have American minimum wage," he noted.

Gas prices now have exceeded 150 naira per liter.  That is nearly $1 per liter -- up from about $0.36 per liter on December 31.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs