News / Africa

3 Killed as Nigerians Strike Against End of Fuel Subsidy

A protester holds a banner during a demonstration against a fuel subsidy removal in Lagos, Nigeria, January 9, 2012.
A protester holds a banner during a demonstration against a fuel subsidy removal in Lagos, Nigeria, January 9, 2012.
Nick Loomis

Mass strikes and protests against the end of a consumer fuel subsidy took place as planned Monday in Nigeria, despite an emergency session held in the House of Representatives on Sunday to avert the economic shutdown. The protests sparked clashes with police that have killed at least three people.

Thousands across Nigeria observed the beginning of an indefinite strike called by Nigerian unions to pressure the government to reinstate the subsidy, which many Nigerians saw as the only benefit they received from the country's oil wealth.

Delta State University lecturer Julia Obgede participated in the protest in Warri, where President Goodluck Jonathan has enjoyed popularity in the past.

“So we are seeing the government as very, very mean. Not just insensitive, but mean and wicked to people, after we have supported him so much. I am ready anywhere, any time, so to hell with Jonathan,” said Obgede.

Like most protest, the Warri event was peaceful, although 18 people were reported injured in Kano when police opened fire on a protest there.  
In addition to an increased security risk, the strikes threaten to hurt the economy as well. In an effort to avoid any impact, the House of Representatives held a special session and produced a motion asking the federal government to reinstate the popular fuel subsidy. The majority of legislators cast votes in line with popular opinion, and heckled those who defended the removal during the rowdy session.

Representative Samson Osagie does not oppose deregulation through the subsidy removal, but he said that with rampant poverty and a growing sectarian conflict, now is not the time to raise fuel prices.

"You must first of all have a country that is united, strong and alive before you can talk of economic policies. The truth of the matter is that this is a country that is on the brink of collapse - socially, economically and otherwise. Imposing additional economic hardship at this point in time, when people are killing, it is very ominous," said Osagie.

The Jonathan government says the fuel subsidy was a sink of corruption that consumed 25 percent of the national budget. It has not, so far, responded to the House's motion.  

Opponents say the government should punish those who abused the system, not the general public.

Dino Melaye is a former member of the House of Representatives and the leader of Occupy Nigeria, a group that has been camping in the streets in the style of the U.S. Occupy movement.

"What we are losing to corruption in this country is about three times what we are losing to the subsidy. So let the president fight corruption and ameliorate the loopholes in government," said Melaye.

Central to the subsidy issue is Nigeria's inability to refine the 2 million barrels of oil it produces daily. The government says it can no longer afford to subsidize the refined fuel it imports and estimates it will save more than $7 billion this year, which it says will reinvest in the country's infrastructure, including oil refineries.

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