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“Nigeria faces protests against the removal of the fuel subsidy”

The Nigerian government’s decision to remove a fuel subsidy for ordinary citizens has drawn harsh criticism and led to protests across the oil-rich country, reports Tayo Elegbede, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent and radio presenter from Lagos.

The year 2012 initially started out on a positive note for most Nigerians. Mercifully there was not a bomb attack that day, in contrast to the previous week’s horrific attacks. In 2011, such attacks claimed over 700 lives and destroyed properties worth millions of naira.

Unfortunately however, the joy and glamour of the New Year soon was short-lived as the government, through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, announced the removal of a petrol subsidy.

The removal of the subsidy, which led to a hike in the price of petrol of 116.9%, will invariably have a grave effect on the welfare and sustenance of Nigeria’s citizens in days, weeks, months and years to come, if the decision remains unchanged.

Until now, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest producer of oil – yet an importer of refined petrol – sells a litre of petrol for #65 ($0.40; £0.26), but with the sudden increase in the price of petroleum products, Nigerians will have no option but to purchase a litre of petrol for #141 or more ($0.86; £0.62).

Since the announcement on Sunday, it has been observed that transport fares and prices of goods and services have all doubled – and in some cases tripled – as things are becoming quite unbearable for most Nigerians.

Civil society organizations, unions and individuals seem ready to stage endless protests against the removal of the fuel subsidy which they have described as “inhuman, a war against Nigerians, [and] a wicked new year gift”.

Nigerians seem pitted against this action of government which they say is calculated to inflict hardship, suffering and poverty on them. But how well will they be able to fight it given the many cultural, religious and ideological differences which exist among the 150 million population?

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About me:

I am a young broadcast journalist, radio presenter, writer, public relations practitioner and social entrepreneur with a passion for all-round human development. My core philosophies in life include honesty and integrity, open-mindedness, responsibility and accountability.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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