Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Nigerian fuel strike suspended

Motorbike taxis wait for passengers at a market in Obalende, Lagos, Nigeria (AP)

Unions in Nigeria have suspended their nationwide strike after President Goodluck Jonathan partially reinstated subsidies to keep petrol prices low.

However, many Nigerians remained angry that prices rose at all in a nation where few see benefits from the country's oil riches, and protesters' rage also turned on government corruption and inefficiency.

Just before the strike was suspended, soldiers in Lagos fired over the heads of several hundred protesters who were walking to a park where demonstrations were held last week - and where armoured personnel carriers and troops awaited.

The deployment of troops is a sensitive issue in a nation with a young democracy and a history of military coups. President Jonathan said in a speech televised that agitators have hijacked the demonstrations, which were initially focused on his removal of a fuel subsidy on January 1. That caused petrol prices to more than double, with a knock-on effect on food prices.

The strike began on January 9, paralysing the nation of more than 160 million people. Tens of thousands protested and at least 10 people were killed.

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