The removal of the fuel subsidy by the Nigerian Federal Government is affecting (almost) each and every Nigerian. We say almost because while majority of Nigerians will struggle to meet ends meet with this 100%+ increase in fuel prices, our politicians continue to live decadent lifestyles as evidenced by the 2012 budget. For example,
477 Million Naira was set aside for grocery shopping and “catering materials supplies” for the President’s office.
293 Million Naira to provide “refreshment and meals” for the president’s comfort at his home and office.
…and the list goes on. Click HERE for a breakdown.
In our opinion, if our leaders want Nigerians to embrace austerity measures, they will need to tow the same line.
On Monday 2nd of January 2012, though the day was officially a public holiday, it was chaotic in most states and one can only imagine what will happen today as Nigerians return to work and school after the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.
According to a report published by Punch Newspaper, “In Lagos, commuters were stranded at various motor parks and bus stops following fare hike by transporters in the wake of fuel subsidy removal.
The situation was not different in Abuja as transport fares skyrocketted, with motorists and commuters lamented the situation.“
In Kwara State, price increases have already started taking effect, based on reports by the News Agency of Nigeria correspondents – “Fares from Post-Office to Kwarapoly were increased from N50 to N100; Ilorin to Abuja ranged between N3,500 and N4,000 for buses and N5,000 for cars as against the old N2,000 rate. Ilorin to Lagos went for N5,000 instead of the old rate of N1,600“
So far, the presidency is sticking to their decision despite an impending labour strike in the country. According to news reports via the Vanguard Newspaper today, “President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday set up a committee, headed by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, to meet with organised labour and other stakeholders with a view to resolving issues that may arise from the controversy.
Jonathan also appointed Dr. Christopher Kolade as Chairman of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme Board, SREPB, which is to oversee and ensure the effective and timely implementation of projects to be funded with savings accruing to the Federal Government from the removal with Major-General Mamman Kontagora, rtd, as deputy chairman.“
In any case, Nigerians are angry yet optimistic as illustrated by the mix of humorous and “citizen journalist” photos that have gone viral via twitter and BlackBerry Messenger over the last few hours.
BN has put together a compilation of the best that we have seen so far.
Special Thanks to everyone who took these photos! In the midst of adversity, the Nigerian spirit never dies.