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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid