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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid