Nigerians in US and Occupy Movement protest Nigerian government’s removal of oil subsidy (2 articles)

Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigerians in Atlanta Protest Subsidy Removal

Nasiru L. Abubakar

10 January 2012–Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, including leaders of the “Occupy Atlanta” movement, staged a protest against the removal of fuel subsidy and rising insecurity in Nigeria.

According to a post by one of the organizers of the event, Farooq Kperogi, the demonstrators will march to the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, United States and called on those living in the Atlanta to endeavor to attend.

A letter delivered to the Consulate General said following the removal of subsidy said “Nigerian mineral wealth should benefit Nigerians, not Shell Oil and other multinationals. The removal of this subsidy is clearly the design of the international Monetary Fund.”

Mr. Geoffrey Teneilabe, the Consul-General, said the protest can hold outside the premises of the Consulate General of Nigeria in Atlanta.

“While we negotiated where to protest, Baba Garba, Consul (Economic, Commerce, Education/Nigerians In Diaspora Organization), attempted to call the police on us. I think he just wanted to intimidate us. Of course, it didn’t work. We later protested outside,” Kperogi said.

“They wrote down my name and that of a leader of the Occupy Atlanta Movement called Taylor Morris, took pictures of us, and promised deliver our letter to the government in Nigeria.” Continue reading

Lagos: ‘Occupy Nigeria’ Protest at multiplying gas prices

by International Business Times Staff Reporter | Jan 10, 2012

A day of protests in Nigeria is coming to a close, but the nationwide unrest is far from over as protestors assume the “Occupy” moniker in an effort to re-instate a fuel subsidy and to show their distaste for President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

Monday saw a massive strike led by national trade unions and the Nigerian Bar Association, as well as demonstrations and marches in all of the country’s major cities.

Protestors are angry over the government’s decision to remove a fuel subsidy that kept gas prices — and thereby food and transportation prices — down for Nigerian citizens, who, on average, make less than $2 a day.

Nigeria has the most oil of all African nations, but a lack of infrastructure means that it can’t refine oil on its own. Nigeria exports its crude oil, but then must import refined oil from other nations.
Until Jan. 1, the fuel subsidy meant that the government — which has become rich from the sale of crude — fronted the import costs. But since the subsidy was removed the price of gas has more than doubled across Nigeria.

Protests started last week and are expected to continue. For the short-term, people are demanding that the subsidy return. In the long term, some want serious government reform and are calling for Jonathan’s resignation.

While much of the demonstration on Monday remained peaceful, in many cities in Nigeria protestors battled with police officers and security forces. At least one person died from a gun shot wound in the city of Kano — where another 30 were injured — but reports from protestors suggest that there could have been many more casualties.

Anti-Subsidy Removal Protest in Port Harcourt. 09/01/12

Nigeria fuel-price protests turn violent

AlJazeeraEnglish on Jan 4, 2012
At least one person has been killed in protests over rising fuel prices. The cost of petrol more than doubled on Sunday night after the government cancelled fuel subsidies.
But hundreds of angry demonstrators responded to the government move in the commercial capital, Lagos, on Tuesday. Protesters shut down petrol stations, formed human barriers along motorways and hijacked buses as police used riot-control tactics to control them.  (Al Jazeera’s Gerald Tan reports.)

Nigeria gas price protest turns violent in Lagos

An unidentified man protests on a major road in commercial capital during a fuel subsidy protest in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Jan. 3. Angry mobs of protesters stopped gas station owners from selling fuel Tuesday while others lit a bonfire on a major highway in an attempt to thwart the government's removal of a cherished consumer subsidy that had kept gas affordable for more than two decades. (AP)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

By Sunday Alamba and Yinka Ibukun, AP

LAGOS, Nigeria — Protesters furious over spiraling gas prices set fires on an expressway Tuesday and at least one person was killed in the violent unrest after Nigeria’s government did away with a subsidy program that had kept fuel costs down for more than two decades.

One union leader described the federal government’s hugely unpopular move as “immoral and politically suicidal,” and urged Nigerians to resist “with everything they have.” But Tuesday’s protest showed that, once unleashed, the pent-up anger of the masses could be hard to curtail.

Angry crowds vandalized gas stations, intimidated owners into keeping their pumps unused and assaulted a soldier, showing how easily the fragile peace in Africa’s most populous nation could spiral into chaos.

One young man threw jerry-cans of engine oil off the racks at a gas station and tried to damage the station’s gas pumps. After union leader and chairman of the Joint Action Front, Dipo Fashina, asked the young man to stop vandalizing the station, he did, but later started one of the first bonfires of the protest in the middle of the highway.

Other activists marched to the protest songs of the late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who fought against the injustices of military rule in Nigeria. His musician son, Seun, walked shirtless among the demonstrators, as his father used to, and also made attempts to keep things civil.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene in the megacity of Lagos said the protest had started with activists wielding signs and walking down a major expressway, but before long angry protesters lit bonfires and vandalized at least three gas stations. A wounded man later ran along the road shouting: “The police shot me, take me to hospital!” Continue reading