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Nigerian President to Reduce Fuel Prices, Just Days After Abandoning Subsidies

After a week of mass strikes and riots Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has finally bowed to public pressure with his decision to reduce fuel prices. In response the unions have agreed to suspend the strike, which was starting to threaten the countries oil production.

The unions are listing the president's decision as a victory for the people. "In the past eight days through strikes, mass rallies, shutdown, debates and street protests, Nigerians demonstrated clearly that they cannot be taken for granted and that sovereignty belongs to them," said Abdulwaheed Omar, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

The beginning of the year saw fuel prices more than double from 65 naira ($0.40) to 140 ($0.86) over night after Mr Jonathan dissolved all fuel subsidies. The public were outraged and immediately rebelled in protest. Following reports of violence in the streets of Lagos where soldiers used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protesters, the president addressed the nation on Monday morning. He said that the government would cut the price to 97 naira in order to ease hardships on the people, but that he still intends to pursue the full removal of all subsidies in the future. The country's vast subsidy regime is thought to have cost Nigeria around $8 billion last year alone.

Goodluck Jonathan is already struggling with Islamic insurgents of the Boko Haram sect in the north of the country, and some fear that this decision to give in to pressure and reduce fuel prices again after such a short period of time could threaten his wider reform agenda less than a year into his term of presidency.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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