Nigerians Protest Fuel Hike, 1 Death Reported

Posted January 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Nigerians demonstrated against soaring fuel prices Tuesday in protests that a top labor union says resulted in at least one death.

Protesters blocked access to gasoline stations and clashed with police on Tuesday in cities including Kano in the north, Lagos in the south and Kwara in the west.

The Nigeria Labor Congress says police fatally shot one protester in Kwara state. Local police have denied that charge.

Fuel prices in the oil-rich nation doubled on Monday, when the government ended a popular consumer fuel subsidy program.

The subsidy was one of the few benefits that Nigerians, most of whom are poor, received from the country's oil wealth. Officials say the $7.5 billion saved from ending the program will allow the government to invest in infrastructure and social programs.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, said Tuesday citizens will experience benefits right away.

Human Rights Watch has accused the country's governing elite of squandering and siphoning much of the nation's oil wealth, leaving little for health services and education.

Militants in the oil-rich south attacked the oil industry and government for years, demanding that more oil wealth be shared with poor communities.