On January 1, 2012, the Nigerian government announced the removal of oil subsidies that have hitherto kept gas prices in the country to below fifty cents per liter. To citizens of the world’s sixth largest exporter of crude oil, government subsidy of gas prices is one of the inalienable advantages of belonging. Other basic government amenities in the country are virtually non-existent. Power supply is abysmal. Security of lives and property is terrible. Roads are bad, and the educational system is not one of the continent’s best (as it was a few decades ago).
Like I said on twitter two days ago, and as everyone knows, the problem is really not the fact that the subsidy was removed. It was the way in which it was removed: abrupt, and total, plus the fact that no one in the country trusts that the money that will accrue to government from this increase in fuel prices will be used to improve social amenities and the life of citizens. Nigeria is probably the only large exporter of crude oil without access to stable and affordable electricity, good roads and an affordable healthcare system. It is disgusting.
So here it is: today all around the country, students, workers, middle and working class people are storming the streets to protest the price hike and to demand that government restores some (if not all) of the subsidy. A government so insensitive to the pain of its citizens as to increase fuel prizes to over 200% on the first day of the year deserves all the outrage it gets.