My Frontline Journal: Removal of Fuel Subsidy in Nigeria
Happy New Year to all of you.
Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria is a burning issue. When government proposed the subsidy removal a few months ago, it promised to engage in a wide consultation with Nigerians till April 2012 when the removal will likely take effect. However, the Federal Government of Nigeria engaged stakeholders in 'consultations' on the issue. At one point, government had a dialogue with representatives of Civil Society Organizations. The implications of fuel price increase on the majority Nigerians who are poor were reiterated to the government. My human rights organization for instance issued a press statement on 22 December, 2011 demanding that government have an assessment on the issue and consider other alternatives and ways to cushion the effects on the poor people. On 31 December, a peaceful rally was held in Lagos to press home the effects of government's proposal to the grass root people.
On 1 Jan, our government gave Nigerians a shocking news of removal of fuel subsidy effect from January 1 2012 . The ripple effects of increase in fuel price is what we face in Nigeria now. Since the announcement, cost of food, kerosene for cooking, essential daily needs, etc are out of reach of majority Nigerians. Movement from one place to the other is paralyzed. As a person, I face the challenges in many areas.
The grass root people are reacting through protests. Protest marches are being held in major cities in Nigeria. Yesterday, Labour Congress had one in Abuja, today the 3 of January, my organization - the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in conjunction with other organizations had a big one in Lagos. Now, I receive reports from our state branches of similar protests in Ilorin and other cities.
The above issue is going to inform my writing for Module 2 but I am yet to get a concrete focus as Nigerians are yet not sure of what the conclusion on the issue should be. Yesterday, our government announced formation of a Committee to manage funds to accrue from the removal of subsidy and this is currently met with nationwide criticisms. Meanwhile Labor Unions are threatening nationwide strike in the days to come.