Fuel Subsidy Removal: Fuelling Hate

The New Year spirit in Nigeria has been rather bleak following the recent bombings and assassinations in Boko Haram-stricken states. However, the mood has reached a new low. If you were to ask a fellow Nigerian, ‘What’s up?’ then the seemingly sarcastic but honest response you would probably get is, ‘Fuel prices, you fool!’ This is all thanks to the removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government; the immediate impact being that the PPP (Petrol Pump Price) skyrocketed from N65 to a whopping N140 per litre. This drastic change took place literally overnight between 2nd and 3rd January, 2012. But the madness doesn’t end there.

You could be driving around in Nigeria and getting varying PPP at different filling stations. These prices could range anywhere from N140 to as much as N250 per litre in some states. However, Nigerians who ‘count the kobos’ tend to queue up at the government-operated filling station, NNPC, for a ‘discounted’ PPP of N138 per litre. But if all this wasn’t bad enough, the madness reached an all-time high when President Goodluck Jonathan commented on the recent protests against the fuel subsidy removal and exclaimed that if he was in the public’s shoes he would react the same way – WTF???

Does this mean that the President is in full support of the proposed nationwide strike that is due to take place at 0.00hrs on Monday, January 9, 2012? Well, that’s easy for him to say as he’s currently basking in South Africa. With only a few hours to go till Operation Occupy Nigeria gets into full swing, I’m sure journalists and news reporters worldwide are salivating over their keyboards and microphones, respectively.

Below is a text I received earlier today on my Blackberry and whilst I cannot confirm its authenticity I wouldn’t want keep this from anyone who’s likely to be affected if and when the strike holds:

From Strike Coordinators: Lagos Zone “On Monday, the strike will be enforced at workplaces, market places, major roads and link roads. There will be protest in the neighbourhoods and the protests will go on simultaneously on major roads and streets across the country.

There is one central protest commencement point and four zonal points in Lagos to ensure effective coverage of the city. Those that want to be part of the protests should go to any focal points close to them in Yaba, Iyana-Ipaja, Acme Road, Ikorodu Road and LASU. On Tuesday, enforcement, rallies and zonal protests would hold with a repeat of street protests. The scenario will continue on Thursday, and Friday. Monday and Wednesday would be for major protests.

All filling stations must remain shut and only medical personnel on essential duties and journalists would be allowed to move freely. Members of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, and Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, would be offering free services to Nigerians in the struggle.

Nigerians who do not want to participate in the mass protest should stay indoors in their interest, as those caught outside would be treated as saboteurs. Be warned!

For me, the last two words sum up my advice to all Nigerians planning to venture outside their homes, especially in Lagos. Buy all your essential provisions and keep your eyes peeled and ears glued to the news stations. Communicate with all your friends and colleagues via phone so you can know what’s going on in your area and in other parts of Nigeria. And if you’ve got the Internet you can always pay the Crazy Nigerian a visit 🙂