UPDATE, January 17: President Goodluck Jonathan announces that his government will enact a partial re-institution of a fuel subsidy, the removal of which has created widespread panic among citizens across Nigeria. (Sources: New York Times)*****
UPDATE, January 11: Senator Bukola Saraki of Kwala State in Nigeria remarks on the current state of protests in the country.
We are tracking the alarming situation in Nigeria, where the country has been paralyzed by strike action over high fuel prices. Fuel prices more than doubled after the governement abolished fuel subsidies. Shops, schools, and banks are shut, roads are empty, and thousands of people have joined demonstrations in large cities. There are a few reports of deaths and a dusk-to-dawn curfew is in place in some parts of the country.
The fuel subsidy enabled Nigerians to buy petrol at 65 naira, or $0.40, a liter, far cheaper than in neighboring countries. But the scheme was also a huge drain on the economy and cost the government more than eight billion dollars last year. Though Nigeria is a big oil producer, it imports most of its fuel because its refineries are run down. Removing the subsidies is one of the key parts of President Jonathan’s policy to reform the country by cutting government expenditure and encouraging private investment in the downstream oil sector.
Download an FAQ of the entire situation, created by the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser to President Jonathan Goodluck in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Budget Office of the Federation.
Send us your photos of the strikes and protests in Nigeria and we’ll post them to Africa.com.