Monday, January 9, 2012

Nigerians Strike over Removal of Fuel Subsidy on Petrol

Nationwide strike over removal of fuel subsidy shuts down Nigeria.

Nigerians rally against the removal of fuel subsidy on petrol at the popular Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos.Photo Credit: Nairaland.

In spite of the spate of terrorist attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic Jihad group and other unidentified elements of the lunatic fringe on rampage in the middle belt and northern states, the nationwide strike to protest the undemocratic removal of the fuel subsidy on petrol has shutdown all commercial activities in Nigeria, except for neighbourhood convenience stores and canteens where the people could buy foods and drinks to feed and stay the course of the strike action.

Prof. Pat Utomi among protesters on the street at Falomo roundabout in Ikoyi, Lagos. Photo Credit: Nairaland.

The organized labour unions, Nigerian Bar Association, human rights bodies, student unions, both academic and non-academic staff unions and other coalitions called Occupy Nigeria led the vanguard of the nationwide strike with mass protests and rallies in every state in the country, from the commercial capital of the mega city of Lagos to the federal capital of Abuja. Millions of others joined on the popular social networks on the Internet using Googleplus, Facebook, Twitter and other online media to communicate and join the debate on the pros and cons of the strike.

Thousands of people rallied at the popular Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota on the Lagos mainland and Eagle Square in Abuja as leaders of labour unions and civil liberty organizations made protest speeches and chanted solidarity slogans chorused by the crowds. At the Gani Fawehinmi Park, they sang protest songs performed by Femi Kuti the first son of the legendary Afrobeat King, Fela Anikulapo Kuti of blessed memory whose hit songs were also amplified to motivate the protesters. Popular entertainers like Reggae artiste Ras Kimono and revolutionary political leaders like Mr. Femi Falana, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin addressed the rally.

All local and international flights have been cancelled until further notice and even road transporters were off the streets, except for those using their private vehicles for personal movement.

The government tried to convince public servants to ignore the strike and go on with their normal duties, but most of them could not even do so in fear of the repercussions of disobeying the general consensus of the organized labour unions.

Billions of naira will be lost. But the greatest loser is President Goodluck Jonathan who has lost the support and trust of the majority of Nigerians who voted for him during the last presidential election. They have now turned against him for betraying their trust and have passed a vote of no confidence in him. Many of his celebrated supporters who endorsed him said they regret doing so and cursed him for deceiving them. The House of Representatives had an emergency session on Sunday and dismissed his unilateral removal of the fuel subsidy. He has also done more harm to his ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); because the populace now sees it as an anti-people party that is oppressing and suppressing the democratic will of the people. And it would be a miracle for the PDP to win another presidential election in Nigeria, except by gerrymandering and rigging.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

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