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NIGERIA: The People Bearing the Brunt of Corrupt Oil Economy Taking Their Destiny in Their Hands

At 10:50am, I was still standing at College Road waiting for the bus. I had been standing for close to five hours and I had begun to feel pain around my ribs. My mission had been to spend the New Year holiday with an aunt who lives in Apapa, an area about 40 miles away from Ikeja, the city where I live. I desperately needed to collect some money from her, which she had promised to loan to support the payment of my house rent, due in January. I had also hoped to get some food items from her as she sometimes takes care of me in this way. But by now, I was frustrated and my journey was derailed.

As I stood endlessly, I was deep in the thought, “Oh goodness, when will this suffering come to an end?” Nigerians like me, who live on the brink of society, are subjected to untold hardship by a government which is supposed to take care of our welfare. What is the justification for a regime that only pretends to derive its legitimacy from the people? My country ranks the highest producer of crude oil in Africa, and here I am a charity worker. I spend my life serving the interest of the less privileged and yet do not have access to take care of my own essential needs! God please help me.

A queue of vehicles at a fuel station located across the road extends to the bus stop, causing even more congestion. People are everywhere, some carrying kegs scampering to buy kerosene, and others waiting for any means of transportation to their destination. Some people are already choosing to walk, but my case is different: I cannot walk for miles. In the mammoth crowd I notice women, some carrying babies on their back.

While it is common to see people waiting long times at bus stops, and not infrequent to pay double or triple the usual transport fare, this particular day is really extraordinary. I walk back home.

Fuel Price Increase Sparks Uprising

The reaction of Nigerians is better imagined when coupled with the facts of the situation: petrol prices rocketed from N65 to N160 per liter, understandably creating an atmosphere tense with fear of the unknown. I received up to 30 messages on my official Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) Facebook and cellphone. People were anxious to know my organization’s stand and the next line of action. In particular, citizens were afraid of what the situation might be on Tuesday, when many Nigerians were due to return home from the Christmas holiday. Many Nigerians who traveled to villages for the holiday were forced to sell their belongings, such as cellphones and wears in order to pay the unexpectedly high transportation fares back to their home cities.

The announcement of fuel increase sparked widespread protests in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Police fired tear gas to break up a protest led by Dino Melaye, who had earlier organized a signing of a petition near Eagle Square. His passionate promise was “to mobilise Nigerians to register their displeasure against the satanic increase of the pump price of petroleum products and to kick-start a mass protest that will follow. The battle to fight this is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.” Dino's action was disrupted by security agents, while armed soldiers and policemen cordoned off Eagle Square, barring more people from joining the early protest. Colleagues from the Nigerian Labour Congress also organized a protest that same day in Abuja. "We intend to work with other groups to completely paralyse the government and make the country ungovernable," said Denja Yaqub, the Assistant Secretary General.

Protests of several hundred people broke out in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria's north. In the cities of Lokoja, Benin, Kaduna, and Abeokuta, protests broke out as citizens agitated against the increased price of fuel. Student leaders threatened riots if the decision was not reversed. In Ilorin, Muyideen Mustapha, a protester was killed by police during the course of the protest.

In Lagos, the most populous city and former capital, a Joint Action Front made up of my organization, the CDHR, and others took to the streets. As the Director of Programmes and Projects for the CDHR, I set myself to the logistic work and prepared my organization for action against what I perceived as wicked, insensitive and a clear demonstration of the government’s deep contempt for the plight of Nigerians, the majority of whom are presently at the lowest ebb in life. I joined my organization’s team in the march, which took off from the Nigerian Labour Congress building in Yaba. Through Masha/Itire Road, we marched to Ikorodu Road, the major highway in Lagos. Protesters carried banners and placards with different inscriptions and chanted anti-government slogans. At Maryland, a team of Nigerian police joined us. The protest march continued till Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, a distance of about 30 miles, where we were addressed by Femi Falana, a former President of CDHR, as well as other activists.

Unaccountable, Corrupt Government Does Not Constitute a Democracy

In Nigeria, the government calls its proposal to deregulate oil a ‘removal of the fuel subsidy’. Removing fuel subsidy, in turn, causes an increase in the price of all petroleum products. This has been an issue of debate since 4 October, 2011, when the federal government pronounced that over N3.7 trillion was spent between 2006 and 2011 on subsidizing oil, about 30% of the capital expenditure. Citing this significant expense, officials proposed a removal of the subsidy, which they purport, will make available a great amount of money. According to their claims, this money would be put towards maternal and general health care, public works, youth employment, urban mass transit, vocational training, and social safety net programmes for the poor who would be adversely affected by the new policy. This government “shopping list” is a bare-faced lie, as the total amount paid out as fuel subsidy could not pay for even one-fifth of the initiatives listed. Nigerians are tired of lies from our leaders! We ask for accountable, corrupt-free governance.

It is extremely difficult for me to understand why my national government insists on carrying out deregulation policy when the effects prove to be unbearable to the majority of the nation’s citizens who are living in poverty. Every child, market woman, artisan, illiterate and semi-illiterate citizen feels the negative impact. Every common man knows that the government has increased the cost of fuel, gas, and kerosene, despite the increased hardship people are experiencing every day.

From the first day the president made the proposal to remove oil subsidy as part of the 2012-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, as well as the 2012 Fiscal Strategy Paper, Nigerians vehemently opposed the policy. A brief consultation with a few influential groups of Nigerians clearly indicated the reactions and opinions of the public. Organizations and individuals voiced the feelings of the people for all to hear, including the government. Ranging from market women and artisans, student bodies and jobless graduates, to professional groups and organized labour movements, citizens spoke out in articulation of the adverse effects of the policy on the poor. Given my everyday experience of hardship in Nigeria, I, too perceived removal of fuel subsidy as an attack against the people. Indeed, my organization issued a public warning with this published statement on 22 December, 2011: http://saharareporters.com/news-page/removal-oil-subsidy-cdhr-warns-jona....

Though the government made a salient point that the amount being spent on the fuel subsidy is so large that it is accelerating the nation’s debt and forcing us to abandon development goals, the fact still remains that the subsidy goes with the greatest fraud in the nation. Though government refuses to let us understand the true picture, over the years, the monumental amount accrued from our country’s oil wealth has not been accounted for. Stories of corruption associated with Nigerian oil are a story of economic woe to our nation. In the government’s recent analysis regarding the removal of the subsidy, there are obvious indications that the whole process is embroiled in secrecy and corruption. Most notably, the analysis was initiated by a cartel which claims and enjoys the monetary benefits associated with the sale of oil, money that otherwise would have been accrued by the people of Nigeria. Because of corrupt practices and mismanagement, Nigeria imports fuel because refineries have not been maintained even when it exports crude oil. Nigeria refines very little of our crude oil, despite being a major global oil source and OPEC member.

Policy Hits the Poor and Vulnerable the Hardest

The negative effects associated with the constant increase in the cost of fuel—seventeen times in the last 26 years—have most drastically impacted the poor class, which constitutes 70% of women, as well as the vast majority of people with disabilities, jobless youths, children and other vulnerable groups who are on the fringe of society. These individuals bear the brunt of market forces, in addition to the crushing effect of poverty. In short, there is excruciating pain associated with the unaffordable costs of essential food and household items. What’s more, this group will now bear the brunt of outrageous transportation costs in the face of our current fuel crisis. Consider the implications of kerosene scarcity, which means exceptional hardship related to preparing food and boiling water. Consider the implications of not being able to travel to one’s job.

A rise in fuel price can also create more boundaries among people as social liberties become less accessible to the less privileged, the vast majority of the more than 145 million people in Nigeria. Whenever there is a rise, the private sectors, namely, small businesses, suffer the biggest reverses. Many of these businesses are the domain of lower class people and will likely face liquidation due to higher business overheads. This has a multiplier effect on Nigerians because as one business is lost, many dependent families are exposed to poverty and other forms of social exclusion, including constrained access to the justice system, housing, medical services, and other essential needs.

Surprisingly, the federal government seems insensitive to the sufferings of the poor. The recalcitrant attitude towards the requests of Nigerians, coupled with the increased suffering among citizens, sparked more protest marches against the government. The refusal of government to yield to the demands of the people has brought about a nationwide strike and intensified protests. But, I see these actions attracting attention of government to urgently address issues.

I leave home every morning to join the march organized by my organization in collaboration with so many others. Coming face-to-face with armed police officers is an experience I will not forget in a hurry. I take with me handkerchief soaked in kerosene in case the police decide to throw tear gas towards us protesters; ironically, inhaling through cloth soaked in kerosene—the very thing we are fighting for—negates the effects of tear gas. There is no water, no food anywhere for a person to buy, even for those who have some cash to spend. Citizens walk miles to join the protests and walk back home. Colleagues have been shot or killed by police bullets and run over by desperate commercial buses. In the end, the same poor people who bear the brunt of corruption and mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil economy also bear the burden of effects of the fuel price increase. The same poor people still bear the brunt of strikes, as they are made to stay in-house without enough food. Every challenge and struggle falls against those of us who live hand to mouth. We are the people who do not make even two dollars a day.

Nonetheless, we remember the words of a leader among us to encourage ourselves: ‘no retreat, no surrender.’ In moments of optimism, I see this crisis launching a desired change where government becomes more accountable and responsible to the people and corruption becomes a thing of the past in Nigeria.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

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usha kc's picture

Celine sister, wonderful

Celine sister, wonderful post, touched me in deep to read about the trouble you people are experiencing and yes, we are going through the same problem :(((

thank you for sharing it dear.
hugs

Celine's picture

Thank you dear sister Usha

Thank you dear sister Usha for your comment. I am more touched by your comment that you people in Nepal are going through the same problem, another friend from Indonesia wrote me to say the same, just as some sisters from other African countries confess the same.
I begin to wonder why so many people the world over should be subjected to hardship and suffering by leaders the people themselves elect into power. Change is what we the citizens are asking for.

Hugs my dear sister.

Celine

olutosin's picture

Aluta Continua

Victoria Ascerta.

Welldone.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Celine's picture

Eeeeeeeeeehh sister

Eeeeeeeeeehh sister Tosin,
Aluta continua, victoria ascerta!

No retreat, no surrender.

Celine

revchristie's picture

Speaking truth to power

Your voice and the courage and determination that rings through it is making a difference . No matter how it may seem on any day, your love for humanity is a gift that is having a ripple effect. Thank your for doing your part, you inspire me to be more.

Christie

Celine's picture

Re: Speaking truth to power

Thank you my sweet mentor.

Your commitment to keep me on focus is yielding the desired results. I owe the courage and determination to your motivating words and actions.

Hugs.

Celine.

nasreenamina's picture

World never will change until

World never will change until we make the change possible. Is nice to know people are empowering themselves and pulling the strings toward the society they want to live in. Is important to learn power for make things better is inside of us. We don't need to expect to receive the power, we should take it. Thank you for this touching article.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Celine's picture

Yes, my sister Nasreenamina.

Yes, my sister Nasreenamina. We are telling them that power belongs to the people. We are taking the power by asking for better living for the suffering majority.

Thank you for your comments and regards to your daughter.

Celine.

Okeny-Lucia's picture

The same governement Africa over!

The worst thing to happen is for good people to sit aside and do nothing about corruption.
The champions of human rights like will many times to sleep hungry but one day freedom will prevail.

Lucia Buyanza
Reproductive Health

Celine's picture

Yes, Sister Lucia. The effect

Yes, Sister Lucia. The effect of corruption is that when resources are diverted to personal use, government neglects its primary focus, which is to put in place facilities and amenities that would better the living standard of the citizens.

Sure, one day, freedom will prevail.

I appreciate your comment.

Celine

Stella Paul's picture

Paradigm is changing

You know Celine, as I read this, I am think something entirely different; I am thinking how for women writers and journalist fraternity (and you are one of them) the walls between what's hot and what's not is breaking down. Even 10 years ago, women would write about 'soft issues' (non-political and non-economic) leaving the hard issues for their male colleagues. Today, it's changing. The fact that you are writing about oil subsidy and economic policies itself is a sign of a change in the social paradigm. And whatever happens at the policy level now, I am happy that the change has begun! Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Celine's picture

Paradigm is changing

Yes, Stella, you are right- paradigm is changing and women are now writing on 'non-soft issues'.
But I tell you, some terrains are still viewed as hard or sensitive for women. Often times journalists come looking for me and will like some interview with me.( I am the only woman working full time in my organization). One day, a journalist asked me whether as a woman, I am not afraid in my position in the organization, considering being whisked away by security agents, police tear gas or bullets during agitations and the work I do in the kind of organization I work with. Well, I gave him a simple answer which narrows down to him that death is inevitable.

Paradigm is changing because countries of the world are now embracing democracy, people have freedom of expression and all that but some of these emerging democracies are still operating like the military. The good thing is that women are getting empowered, with the empowerment, we join in making contributions, agitating for social change for our communitiies.

Thank you Stella,

Celine.

Celine's picture

Paradigm is changing

Yes, Stella, you are right- paradigm is changing and women are now writing on 'non-soft issues'.
But I tell you, some terrains are still viewed as hard or sensitive for women. Often times journalists come looking for me and will like some interview with me.( I am the only woman working full time in my organization). One day, a journalist asked me whether as a woman, I am not afraid in my position in the organization, considering being whisked away by security agents, police tear gas or bullets during agitations and the work I do in the kind of organization I work with. Well, I gave him a simple answer which narrows down to him that death is inevitable.

Paradigm is changing because countries of the world are now embracing democracy, people have freedom of expression and all that but some of these emerging democracies are still operating like the military. The good thing is that women are getting empowered, with the empowerment, we join in making contributions, agitating for social change for our communities.

Thank you Stella,

Celine.

vivian's picture

Real time story

Hi Celine, am glad you made it to write a piece on the present situation of the country which is the fuel subsidy removal. it indeed it has caused alot of ups nd downs in the country. I sympathise with families who lost life during this 6days strike and protest. At lest, we thank God the price has been reduced to N97. i shall survive, fuel subsidy removal will not kill us rather we will conquer it. We will make more money this year to provide all our needs.

Well done for the beautiful piece.

Vivian

''Every woman have a story at every stage of Life''

Celine's picture

Real time story

Yes Vivian, there is no sane person who will not like and support progress for our dear country, but the point we are contesting is the corruption and deceit which bedevil our system, and the palliatives to cushion the effects on the poor. I know the argument sounds good with laudable projects, but we are asking for commitment and proof from our leaders. We have been deceived over the years. The high and mighty should put themselves in our shoes, and consider us when making policies.

Cheers,

Celine

Duda's picture

Dear Celine,

Corruption is the big problem for the whole world. I think that people in Government and President of a country forgot that they are elected by the ordinary people.

Beautiful piece.

Duda

Celine's picture

Most surprising

My dear sister, that is the most surprising thing - democratically elected leaders who canvassed for citizens votes, told voters what agenda they have - coming round to impose policies which amount to total suffering on the ordinary people. They told us stories of their humble beginnings to bring themselves to our level and once elected, they forget the stories and so-called poor backgrounds they claimed to originate from.

Thank you Duda.

Celine

“Oh goodness, when will this suffering come to an end?" This suffering will overcome one day. Let us encourage ourselves that ‘no retreat, no surrender.
The situation is same everywhere but only context differs. These high and unchecked and un-genuine prices are taking lives of poor who bearing the brunt at its worst and these things are paying way for corruption and other red-tapism.

AB

Celine's picture

Thank you Aliya for reading

Thank you Aliya for reading my post.

A lot of people who are really hit in negative ways over these years of fuel increase, when asked, they tell you that they prefer death to living. One good thing is that the common people are now alert, thanks to Facebook, twitter and other social media. The present government now knows that it is no longer 'business as usual' with leadership in Nigeria. The common people are all sensitized hence they care to know what goes on in government houses.

Thank you AB for re-echoing it 'no retreat, no surrender' until we gain what are our rightful entitlements in our countries.We keep speaking out demanding for social change.

Celine.

Kristin Miller's picture

A powerful piece!

Celine, thank you for all you've put into making this piece informative, moving, personal, and POWERFUL. You have captivated me as a reader, tactfully created a sense of connection with the people who are enduring this injustice, and sparked a sense of urgency for realizing a resolution. Well done!

As always, it is a true joy to be a part of your creative process and I feel inspired by the end product! What a great success!

My best,
Kristin

Celine's picture

A powerful piece

Thank you Kristin.

You've been a wonderful person honing my voice and giving shape to the information I nurse within me. I appreciate your commitment which makes the piece creative and .....powerful?

Yes, the people who are enduring this injustice are really happy that I am able to produce the piece, which they say, is a good representation of our collective suffering.

Thank you! thank you!! thank you, Kristin!!!

Celine.

Juliette Maughan's picture

Shout it! Do it!

I was looking forward to this post Celine. I was watching the BBC the other day and took in the riots from afar. Thank you so much for this story!

Ahhhh Nigeria. I have never been there but I feel a pull towards it. Such a rich country that cannot display its wealth because of corruption. I say rich not only in terms of financial.

I believe this is just the straw that broke the camel's back. It is time for Nigerians to say "enough is enough" no more corruption!

My prayers are with you.

Juliette

Celine's picture

Thank you dear Juliette.

Thank you dear Juliette.

Yes, Nigeria is rich in natural and human resources, but cannot make the citizens comfortable because of corruption.

We are already saying 'enough is enough' to our leaders. They have promised to fight corruption henceforth, we are watching to see. One good thing is that Nigerians are now alert at every level of governance in the country.

Best,
Celine

WILDKat's picture

Ethical Africa

What could a vision of an ethical Africa mean for your community?
Share this also and I shall dream of it tonight with you.

Naturally grateful,
Kat Haber

"Know thyself." ~ Plato

Celine's picture

Ethical Africa

Africa is a vast continent, comprising of countries with diversified culture, historical origin, colonial backgrounds, ethnic groups as well as economic resources. The mentioned factors go a long way determining people's way of life, language, leadership style, religion, means of living, etc. Because of the diversity, standards vary from country to country.

In my country, we have more than 250 ethnic groups with different languages and cultures. Apart from the divides on the basis of ethnicity, there is a big margin between the north and the south of Nigeria in terms of standard of living or perception of life. The British colonial masters amalgamated the north and south for administrative convenience. At independence, we inherited a federation of groups, whose lifestyles (ethical or moral perception) differ from each other. We also inherited leadership that only make citizens passive hence it encourages corruption among a class of people. Under both the civilian and military regimes, the class operates in selfish manner and never pay attention to the suffering of the vast majority, despite the nation's rich resources.

For my community, an ethical Africa starting with my own country, Nigeria, means a system where economic, social and political rights are extended to the marginalized groups. It means not just equality but equitable- full opportunity for individuals in the societies. It means for my community, provision of facilities and social amenities that will take care of the needs and also take cognizance of challenges, which are unique in many ways. It means giving us rights to life, economic well being, affordable cost of living, medical attention, mobility, shelter, education, etc. It means living a life that will no longer subject us to abject poverty.

Please dream of it tonight and always with me

Roots2re's picture

Ethical Africa

I wanted to reply and let you know how much I appreciate this article you have written. It is both informative and moving. I am particularly inspired by your response to the question of what an Ethical Africa would embody. It was a beautiful response and it will stay with me. I am an Artist/Activist from the U.S working on a project called Roots To Resistance, which works with 80 International Organizations to raise up the voices of Women Activists across the Globe. I will continue to read your articles and share what I am learning about Nigeria, its politics and resistant voices with my partners around the world. I will most definitely keep this dream in mind with you.

Much gratitude,
Denise Beaudet
www.denisebeaudet.com

Celine's picture

Ethical Africa

Good to know that my article is interesting to you Denise. Happy to note that you appreciate my response on what an Ethical Africa means to my community. Nigeria is very vast in terms of culture, language, tradition, belief, etc. It is like a small United Nations Organs, which has a lot to teach in its unique setting of unity in diversity.

Fell free to contact me if you need some clarifications-- I promise to do my best.

Celine.

NB: Your have an interesting website.

Virginia W's picture

Good luck to you Celine

Bravo Celine for your poignant writing and strong commitment for a better world for more Nigerians. I admire your courage and commitment. Be take good care of you. Your voice is much needed!

Virginia Williams, MBA, PCC | Executive Coach and Learning Facilitator

Celine's picture

Thank you Virginia for taking

Thank you Virginia for taking time to read my post.

Yes, I will speak out. I won't stop until there is justice in our land.

Best regards,
Celine

Dear Celine, You have many sisters around the globe supporting you. We all have so much work to do to protect so many whose voices are not heard. Do take good care of you in your speaking out.
Warm regards, Virginia

Virginia Williams, MBA, PCC | Executive Coach and Learning Facilitator

Celine's picture

Happy to be connected with you

Thank you so much dear sister Virginia. I am safety conscious.

My warm regards,
Celine.

WILDKat's picture

Ethical Africa

...and so we dream together.

Naturally grateful,
Kat Haber

"Know thyself." ~ Plato

Celine's picture

Ethical Africa

Thank you so much. I believe our dream will come true.

Celine.

Jensine's picture

No Surrender!

Dearest Celine -
Your story touched me, angered me, and made me feel like pushing with the crowds - raising hands in the air for change. I loved the ironic image of holding kerosene over your mouths to protect from tear gas. Oh, oh Nigeria,... your country could soar if only not saddled with corrupt leaders siphoning off the riches of the country and making the poor pay to breathe air.
I have even greater respect and admiration for you and your determination and power, Celine. Brava!! Keep writing!!!

Love, Jensine

Jensine Larsen
World Pulse

Celine's picture

No Surrender!

Dear Jensine,
Thank you so much - for your solidarity and for your words of encouragement. I am sure the hearts of millions of impoverished Nigerians will go out to you upon reading your comment. Yes, we pay to breathe air and pay dearly for speaking out against the policy, whose effect is hitting hard on us. It is like hitting a child and at the same time, telling the child not to cry.
The poor are even more determined now to say no to oppressions and denials. We will reclaim our power using our voice. Thanks to our age of social media!
Great thanks to world pulse!!.

Lots of love dear Jensine.
Celine.

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Voice changes.

Dear,its strength in the voice is able to show financial inequities in their country, making us reflect on our country, and be sure of this force as an important tool in changing paradgma and financial empowerment of women.

Celine's picture

Voice changes

Thank you Valerie. Yes, Nigerians are taking their destiny in their hands, using their voices to demand for changes. We, the people living on the fringe of society do not have arms and ammunition, we do not have money to buy the desired changes, but we have our voices, our networks and the social media. We are affecting changes in our society.

Celine

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Great story!

Thank you so much for sharing your story and the story of millions of Nigerians who suffer from the corruption of your government. It is incredibly hypocritical that the country who exports so much oil is unable to meet the basic energy demands of its people. You draw a clear picture of the trickle down effect these policies have on the poor and vulnerable in your country. I would have liked to know what effects you've seen from the protests--have their been any successes? Has the government considered re-installing the subsidy?

Keep up the good work!

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

Celine's picture

Great story

Thank you Rachael for your comments.

After the first week of national strike and protest marches, the government called on labour union leaders for negotiation. As negotiation was going on, government was inconsistent on the amount it will reduce the price of fuel. Labour insisted on reversal to the former price of N65, which was the demand of the people. However, the government came up with a nationwide broadcast announcing a reduction to N97.

Thus far, the successes are that government reduced the price to N97; set up a committee to go into more negotiations / consultations with the public on the fuel subsidy; Promise to aggressively tackle corruption in the oil sector by way of starting of with investigations. Government purchased 1600 buses, which it says will be used for mass transit to cushion the effects of fuel increase on the masses. A remarkable success I have to say is that government is now at alert, knowing that Nigerians are keeping eyes on every development in governance. Government is not focusing on re-installing subsidy but on working against corruption in the oil sector. I believe, as well as so many Nigerians that this is a starting point for the desired change in the Nigerian system.

My warm regards to you, Rachael.
Celine.

EllenWingard's picture

Fueling Justice

My dear Celine,

As your five hour stand waiting for the bus opened your extremely powerful story, all I could feel was the visceral ache of your ribs at being stripped of means to get to your aunt, your own replenishment, your own needs. You illuminated at a core level the human suffering of inhumane government corruption that feeds the greed of 1 percent and deeply deprive 99% their needs and their dignity. In the midst of this you never stop standing for what is just and being in the streets to demand and not surrender these rights. Thank you for educating us, the world, in the most palpable writing how these violations attack our collective souls and spirits. In reading your responses it sounds as though a margin of progress has been made - though I have also read it will be taken up again in April - yet in the interim time, may your actions and words fuel all that is most healing and replenishing, the spirit of community in knowing you are not alone and that your daily actions have made a significant difference in their lives of all Nigerians and all of us who are far away in distance but close to you in our hearts. A bow of thanks for all you do everyday and thank you for this incredible piece.

Warmest regards,
Ellen

Celine's picture

Fueling Justice

Thank you so much for being empathic. Even when I am millions of miles away from you, you still feel the ache of my ribs as I was being striped of means to better my living. So inhumane, the act seems to me. It is so painful to the soul, aggravating more suffering on the majority populace and bringing the same people lower in the level of poverty.

Yes, they have always promised wider consultations before April but we are really tired of the 'executive lies'.

Indeed, I appreciate you for reading the piece with deeper feeling for the 99% of the people whose interests were not considered by a policy, which affects their lives in negative ways. It shut them away from financial plans made to travel back to their jobs and businesses in the cities after the Christmas and New Year vacation.

I was destabilized and yet brave to join the course for freedom, at least to express my feelings in a peaceful way, against a policy that is inhumane and championed by a system bedeviled in corruption and authoritarianism.

My very warm regards, dear Ellen.
Celine.

EllenWingard's picture

Your bravery

My dear Celine,

It touches me to hear from you, heart to heart, and to know you are championing the peaceful antidote to an inhumane system with every breath you take and action you model as a true leader. Blessings and gratitude for your response, I am inspired by your course for freedom and stand with you in solidarity, Warmest regards dear Celine, Ellen

mrbeckbeck's picture

Nigeria's future

Celine, you've done a great job of presenting your story. A brilliant blend of personal experience, researched facts, and a positive vision for what is possible. I loved reading it from start-to-finish.

Thanks for your brave work on the frontlines of change in Nigeria. I know that greatness will be the fortune of your country once the chains of corruption are broken... it will be a beautiful day.

Take care,
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Celine's picture

Many thanks Scott, for your

Many thanks Scott, for your comment. I am happy you loved reading it till end.

I am brought in and groomed to be brave. I felt empowered as the 'microphone' to speak was handed down to me. And what do I do with this powerful tool? I use it for the purpose it stands for. Induction came from different quarters - both local and global, you know. Thanks to you and Rachael for spurring me on, especially on the path of being brave at the frontlines of this desired change in Nigeria.

Yes, I am so hopeful for that beautiful day.

Warm regards from Nigeria.
Celine.

Efe Idehen's picture

Where do we go from here

Well done,you have said it all. Where do we go from here? Corruption has come into Nigeria like a dreaded disease,sipping through the pores of the society and ravaging it beyond repairs.BUT one day monkey go go market and e no go come back,meaning the evil ones shall be whipped out of the society and a messiah shall arise.The fight continues.Ones again I say well done.Thanks Efe

E Idehen

Celine's picture

Thank you dear Sis for taking

Thank you dear Sis for taking time to read my post.
We are compelled to take our destiny in our hands, hence we intensify efforts in our positions as watchdogs. We must monitor them in every act, taking advantage of freedom of information bill to ask questions and know everything going on in our nation. We keep embarrassing them by exposing their shameful acts of corruption. One day, we shall be free from the shackles they put us.

Celine

MaDube's picture

Dear Sis Celine

Unfortunately I get to comment on your post when the momentum has died down and the efforts to reinstate the fuel subsidy seem to have failed to move the government, at least for now. However your story could not have been more timely. It is a very well written piece and it captures the situation on the ground. I applaud your courage and that of other Nigerians who stood up to the corruption and insensitivity of their government and demanded that it prioritises the welfare of its own people. Please keep us updated on any developments to this issue.

Best,

MaDube

Celine's picture

Thank you dear Sis for your

Thank you dear Sis for your comment.

The momentum has not died down completely as we are still suffering the effects-- trying to adjust to the reality of hardship created by the increase from N65 to N97. Nigerian protesters are still in pains-- asking ourselves questions and reassessing issues that made our collective suffering not yield the desired result, which is to bring our government to revert back to the former price of N65. As you might guess, it is issue of powerless citizens fighting powerful system that has the power and control of the ace.

We are still full of hope, anyway.

Regards,
Celine

Ankur Naik's picture

Celine, Thank you for this

Celine,

Thank you for this informative and thought-provoking post. It is a terrible injustice when the natural resources of a place are used only to benefit a few, rather than improving the lives of everyone living there. I hope the people of Nigeria are able to convince those in power that there is a better path they can take -- one that will bring greater opportunities to all Nigerians.

Best wishes,
Ankur Naik
Technology Architect, World Pulse

Celine's picture

Hi Ankur. Thank you too, for

Hi Ankur.

Thank you too, for taking your time to read my post on this all-important issue, which costs so much lives of Nigerians.

We are still hoping that the promises they advance will be fulfilled and strategies they are putting in place since after the incidence will yield fruits. If the President can walk his talk and live by example, we will hope for greater opportunities for Nigerians.

Regards from Nigeria, Ankur.
Celine.

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