Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Nigerians protest at fuel prices

"The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) had billed the march as the first in a series of mass protests that would also highlight what it sees as President Olusegun Obasanjo's failure to improve services to the poor majority in six years in power.

The demonstration started off small but numbers rose to about 2,000 after passing through busy Yaba market. It had yet to reach Ikeja where speakers were due to address the crowd.

"The government doesn't have any feelings for the poor masses. Our food is very expensive in the markets and there's no employment," said Esther Udueyin, one of the protesters.

Two thirds of Nigeria's 140 million people live on less than a dollar a day.

The official fuel pricing agency raised the price of petrol at the pump on August 26 after the state oil company said high oil prices on international markets meant the cost of fuel imports had shot up and it could no longer afford fuel subsidies.

Nigeria is the world's eighth-largest exporter of crude oil but it lacks refining capacity and has to import more than half its daily consumption of fuel."

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