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Nigerianische Gewerkschaften akzeptieren Kompromiss: Teilrücknahme der Kürzungen, Aktion gegen Korruption in der Ölindustrie – viele junge Nigerianer wollen Aktion weiterführen – diese machtvolle Aktion hatten Kenner den ethnisch und religiös gespaltenen Nigerianern nicht zugetraut, Diesmal Aktionen im ganzen Land für ein gemeinsames Ziel, Christen und Muslime gemeinsam, sich gegenseitig schützend! Machtverschiebung: Erstmals müssen Funktionsträger öffentlich Rechenschaft ablegen!

Januar 17, 2012

Nigeria’s EFCC in raids over fuel importation probe

Christians give security to praying muslims

Most Nigerians have obeyed the unions‘ call to return to work after the strike saw the fuel price cut
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Nigerian anti-corruption officers have raided the offices of the agency which regulates the sale of fuel, as people return to work after the end of a week-long strike over the cost of petrol.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says items were confiscated as an investigation into alleged fraud in the importation of fuel begins.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest producer of oil but imports refined fuel.

The strike was called after a subsidy on the cost of fuel was removed.

The government says the subsidy costs $8bn (£5.2bn) annually and that the money would be better spent on infrastructure and social services and said the biggest beneficiaries of the fuel subsidy were the owners of fuel-importing companies – among the richest people in the country.

But it backed down after the strike and agreed to reintroduce a partial subsidy.
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Nigeria’s fuel prices
Previous price in petrol stations: $0.40/ litre
Price in petrol stations after subsidy removed: $0.86
Latest price: $0.60
Previous black market price: $0.62
Black market price after subsidy removed: $1.23
Annual cost to government of subsidy: $8bn

Although unions responded by calling off their strike, some civil society groups have urged people to continue protesting.

EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren told the BBC the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) offices in Lagos and the capital, Abuja, had been raided.

Report in various Nigerian newspapers say that the state oil firm – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – will also be subject to the EFCC investigation.

On Monday, the government approved the reduction of the pump price of petrol to 97 naira (about $0.60) per litre, restoring part of the fuel subsidy.

The price of petrol had risen from 65 naira ($0.40; £0.26) to 145 naira when the subsidy was removed without warning.

The protests led to the deaths of several people and in the commercial capital, Lagos, on sixth day of the strike police fired live bullets into the air and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
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We cannot stop this kind of protest when the original aim of the protest has not been achieved”
Mallam Shehu Sani
Civil Rights Congress
Traffic jams

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress said they had agreed to call off the strike in order to save lives – and said they welcomed the government’s promise to explore corruption in the oil sector.

The BBC’s Tomi Oladipo in Lagos says people were heeding the unions‘ call to return to work on Tuesday morning and the streets of Nigeria’s biggest city were clogged with the usual heavy traffic.

However, some civil society groups have been angered by the decision to end the strike as petrol prices have not returned to the original pre-new year price.

„We cannot stop this kind of protest when the original aim of the protest has not been achieved,“ Mallam Shehu Sani, head of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

„I can tell you from the perception of the public, they are disappointed that the unions have accepted 97 naira,“ he said.

BBC correspondents say some of that anger is felt in the cities of Kaduna in the north and Lagos in the south, even though people are returning to their jobs.

But the BBC’s Chris Ewokor in Abuja said there was a sense of relief in the capital during the morning commute that the strike was over.

Oil accounts for some 80% of Nigeria’s state revenues but, after years of corruption and mismanagement, it has hardly any capacity to refine crude oil into fuel.

The subsidy has meant fuel was much cheaper in Nigeria than in neighbouring countries, so large amounts ended up being smuggled abroad.

Viewpoint: ‚Nigeria Spring‘ here to stay
Comments (40)
By Nkem Ifejika
BBC News

Nigeria’s dissatisfied youth have vowed to keep the spotlight on government
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Related Stories
Viewpoint: Nigeria’s President Jonathan backs down
Your views: Where does the money go?
Nigerian fuel strike is suspended

The strikes that forced Nigeria’s government to restore some of the withdrawn fuel subsidy have been described as „Nigeria’s Harmattan“.

They did not last as long as the Arab Spring – but Africa’s most populous country and biggest oil producer will never be the same again.

Nigerians have long decried their leadership but now young, well-educated groups have organised themselves on social networking sites such as Twitter – using #OccupyNigeria – to force President Goodluck Jonathan to back down.

The seasons might have shifted, but it will take at least a generation for the dust to settle.
People power

For the first time, Nigerian leaders are being held to account, and many seasoned Nigeria-watchers would never have expected it in this way.

They would have put money on a Swiss banker suffering an attack of conscience and returning some stolen loot before predicting people power in Nigeria.
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Fear is dead. Unity is possible. Engagement is inevitable ”

After all, Nigerians are not supposed to do sustained civil disobedience. These preconceived notions no longer hold true.

While battle-hardened union comrades have settled with the government, there are still many dissatisfied young people.

This was their movement.

While the unions were prepared to accept a compromise of 97 naira (about $0.60; £0.40) per litre, young people wanted much more.

A rallying cry around the removal of the fuel subsidy suddenly became a demand for accountability from government and for lawmakers to curb their excesses.

And as Nigerians return to work, it won’t be business as usual.
Time to take notice

The key point of any „revolution“ isn’t how long it lasts, or how many people take part, but what the results are.

Strikes against the fuel subsidy removal have turned into wider protests

When you have a former top World Bank official and minister of finance begging the Nigerian people for their trust, you know times have changed. And when the man voted Central Bank Governor of 2010 appears humbled and contrite, it is time to sit up and take notice.

So what have the protests achieved?

Fear is dead. Unity is possible. Engagement is inevitable.

Protesters gathering in such numbers is unheard of Nigeria. Rarely has there been anything as unifying as the fuel subsidy protests. From Kano in the north to Lagos in the south, Nigerians had one cause.

Sure, the presence of soldiers on the streets intimidated people, and cut short the protest on Monday. However, the reaction was more one of anger than of cowardice.

The people had their victory last week when thousands of people demonstrated every day. Anything after that was always going to be a bonus.

Against the backdrop of attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the north and pockets of reprisal attacks in the south, this was a precarious time for Nigerians to take to the streets.

But during protests, Christians formed symbolic shields around Muslims as they prayed. In Kano, Muslims visited churches on Sunday as a sign of solidarity.

These were not the actions of a nation at peril, but of a disparate people clinging together, refusing to be divided.

The strike brought Nigerians together – here Christians formed a barrier while Muslims prayed during the protests

The head of the central bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonji-Iweala have been forced to explain their actions like none of their predecessors. They have been present on television, on radio, on Twitter – telling Nigerians why they believed the removal of the subsidy was in the best interests of Nigeria.
Doing right by themselves

This prompted a mushrooming of armchair economists. Of course, we’re not all economists, but questioning one’s leaders is the sign of a healthy democracy.

The author and economist Jeffrey Sachs got a drubbing on Twitter for supporting the subsidy removal. Global thinkers don’t always get short shrift from a now enlightened dark continent.

Youth group Enough is Enough’s ReVoDa mobile phone app for monitoring last year’s general election was just the start of it.

Websites such as have been created so that anybody can carve up the Nigerian budget to their liking. And youth groups such as Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition are giving a voice to millions of young Nigerians and helping them to channel their anger.

If the government refuses to do right by the people, the people will do right by themselves.

The young people who have created these tools will not forget these past two weeks, and they’ll be watching the government’s behaviour closely.

Satire is now part and parcel of the political discourse, alongside impromptu music videos from Nigeria’s favourite artists crying the tears of a nation.

„I was there when we defied the government“, is what this generation of young Nigerians will be able to tell their children and grandchildren.

And any government wishing to enact policies that cause difficulty for its citizens will have advisers whispering: Remember 1 January, 2012.

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