Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Armored vehicles and soldiers blocked Monday the access to a park in central Lagos where, where last week there had been demonstrations against the lifting of fuel subsidies according to activists from the movement Occupy Nigeria, who have decided to stage protests despite the unions’ repeal of the Demonstrations.
“The soldiers – said Tope Sadiq, one of the leaders of the protests against the elimination of public subsidies for fuel – have blocked several downtown streets, trampling the right to demonstrate peacefully.”
Occupy Nigeria is one of the movements which call for demonstrations despite the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan that there would be a partial reintroduction of subsidies, in order to reduce the price of a gallon of gasoline from 145 to 97 naira from 70 to 47 cents. “We want – Sadiq says – that the price for consumers to returns to what it had been before, there can be no other way.”
Since the weekend, marked by the first meetings between the government and unions, the confrontation seems to have shifted from the street to the political level. MISNA confirms Clement Nwankwo, director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja. “In the coming days – says the expert – the unions should communicate the final decision on the strike, which is continuing despite the suspension of the demonstrations.”
MISNA sources in Lagos and Abuja also confirm that, even today, there has been a massive abstention from work. The continuation of the strike would be coupled to a widespread skepticism that did not suffer a scratch despite Jonathan’s words about the government’s committment to fight corruption and to promote transparency in the oil sector. “Many – Nwankwo argues – are convinced that imported gasoline prices are inflated to ensure profit margins for speculators and traffickers linked to politics.”