Let Them Chop Cassava!

In Nigeria chop means to eat, it can also mean to eat with immoral or criminal greed.

Cassava is a root carbohydrate staple. Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava and the 6th largest oil producer in the world. 

On January 1st 2012 the Nigerian Government shocked its citizens by announcing a 117% rise in the price of fuel. As 70% of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day, for many the price hike was a serious threat to their very survival.

The government argued it could no longer afford a subsidy that kept the price of petrol artificially low, ministers admitted there was rampant corruption in the petroleum industry and claimed subsidy removal would thwart the activities of a shadowy "cabal" of oil marketers and politicians who profited from the status quo and over whom they were powerless.

Incensed that their notoriously profligate and highly paid leaders, (some four hundred senators and representatives earn substantially more than President Obama,) had done nothing to tackle corruption, Nigerians of all classes took to the streets demanding a reversal to the original 65 Naira per litre price.

As the protests developed, the profligacy, corruption and ethnic divisions that have blighted the country's development came into sharp focus.

 

 

 

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Jan162012

Jan 9 - Freedom Park (02:42)

Gani Fawehinmi Park, named after a revered humans rights lawyer became the focus of the protests on mainland Lagos. On the first day of the strike half a million people gathered to listen to music and impassioned speeches.

Funmi interviewed the, 'Save Nigeria Group' leader Pastor Tunde Bakare and activist Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin.

A firebrand pastor, Bakare was a vice presidential candidate for the opposition party CPC and has been a vocal critic of corruption and past governments for many years. His political associations were an issue for some and encouraged the government to characterise the protest as the work of disgruntled politicians intent on regime change.

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