It’s officially Day 5 of #OccupyNigeria, the country wide protests over the government’s removal of fuel subsidy, a move which effectively increased the price of fuel inNigeria by over 100%.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), backed by the Nigerian people, have stood their ground in the face of much government opposition and many Nigerian’s have shown solidarity by taking to the streets in relatively peaceful protests for what they see as a continuous disregard for the wellbeing of the people by those elected to govern them.
The events over the last five days show that the President has been backed into a corner, as the resilience of the people remains unfettered by the hardline he has taken. At the start of the strike, the NLC negotiated for a return to N65/ litre as opposed to the newly implemented N141/litre. However unconfirmed reports from yesterday, revealed that NLC maybe negotiating for a new long term price of N90/ litre or N65 until April with further negotiations after. These unconfirmed reports have resulted in various responses, with some arguing that a return to the N141/litre in April may result in stock piling and artificial scarcities. Others also point out that a return to N141/litre at any point would be totally unacceptable given the already low standard of living faced by many Nigerians and advocate for a complete reversal to N65/litre price. However some have argued that a return to N65/litre is unreasonable, given the potential economic benefits of the subsidy.
Furthermore, it is clear that the #OccupyNigeria movement has brought to the fore many issues facing the country, corruption, dwindling industrial base, lack of power, roads, education and other basic amenities, Boko Haram. These issues are not new, but the fuel subsidy crisis has definitely been the final straw for Nigerians.
No matter our opinions of the strike, one thing is clear, #OccupyNigeria movement has brought Nigeria’s issues centre stage, the people are united against her government and are demanding answers but how will this end? Will the government listen to the voice of the people? Or will they stand their ground? Will a compromise position be reached? If so, what is an acceptable compromise position N65, N90, N120? What about other issues which have plagued Nigerians for decades? Do we start new ‘occupy’ movements for those?
Nigeria, Lets Decide!