Nigeria fuel and corruption protests continue

Protests in Nigeria against rising fuel prices and widespread government corruption have entered their third day. On Monday more than 10,000 demonstrators turned out to protest, but now tens of thousands have taken to the streets all over the capital. Protests on a similar scale have also taken place in numerous other cities around the country.

The protests follow a government decision that doubles fuel prices by removing subsidies that had kept them low, rising from $1.70 per gallon to $3.50 per gallon. This price increase comes in the wake of an oil spill on December 20, 2011. The effects of this price increase across the nation of more than 160 million people have included increased food and transportation prices. Most citizens live on less than $2 a day.

There are numerous conflicting reports of the scale of the protests Protestors said that the clashes on Monday have left several wounded and some dead, and a Red Cross official reports that 5 people have died in southern Benin City. In the northern state of Kano, protestors report that at least 13 people have been injured after police fired on protestors.

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, tried to explain the need for the end of fuel subsidies, saying that the money would then be invested in the country’s infrastructure. He said his country faces a choice: either "survive economically or continue with a subsidy regime that will continue to undermine [Nigeria’s] economy." Simultaneous with these protests, conflicts between Muslim and Christian groups in the north, and a separatist movement have put tremendous pressure on the regime.

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