On Tuesday in Lagos, Nigeria, a burning roadblock was reported to have cut off a road leading from the islands where the wealthy of Africa’s most populous country (158 million), and Africa’s top oil exporter, tend to inhabit.
Into its third day, Nigeria is undergoing a nationwide strike, called by labor unions. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the mainly peaceful protests.
Protestors are reportedly angry about government corruption and inaction. The government, headed by President Goodluck Jonathan, recently withdrew oil subsidies that were keeping the price of oil low for the people. The withdrawal of subsidies has seen the price of petrol immediately double – from $1.70 a gallon (45c per liter) to around $3.50 per gallon (94c per liter).
President Jonathan maintains that removing the oil subsidy is necessary because it will save the nation around $8 billion a year, which is needed for better roads and other public projects.
Protestors say it’s time to end government corruption, as politicians and the military have stolen many billions.
Complicating the issues, the Nigerian government has also had difficulty countering an insurgency by Boko Haram, an Islamist sect that demands sharia law be installed in the country. The group was said to be responsible for the recent suicide bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, only the second such bombing in the nation’s history.
After 2011 witnessed the rising-up of people, and the take-down of regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, could this be the beginning of a so called “Nigerian Spring” in Africa’s most populous nation?