Nigeria is a giant on the African continent, a maturing democracy and a major hub for culture and trade. It also contains about one sixth of Africa’s population, many of whom live in abject poverty. So when the government decided to “save” funds by removing a critical fuel subsidy, it lit a tinderbox of populist outrage.
Uprisings have been rocking the country all week. Tens of thousands of protesters amassed to express anger at a jump in oil prices. Labor activists launched a general strike. Oil workers have also threatened to shut down production, jolting global oil markets. Tensions, and the public’s energy, run high as talks between labor and the government are pending.
At the start of the mass actions, the Nigeria Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress issued a joint statement to
congratulate the Nigerian masses for a second successful day of strikes, rallies and mass protests…. By their actions in the past few days, Nigerians have left the Presidency and the world in no doubt that sovereignty belongs to them and that they intend to reclaim their country.