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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Jan 13 - A Pulitzer Winner's Views (02:50)

Pulitzer winning journalist and former editor of Newsday Dele Olojede returned to Nigeria in 2006 and two years later started 234NEXT. Employing a new generation of bright, fearless journalists, NEXT broke news stories about political and corporate corruption which no one else would touch. Naturally they made many enemies losing advertising and investment until last year the paper suddenly disappeared off the streets.

We arrange an interview with Dele to get his take on the crisis. Driving across town to the appointment at his home on the Island, we fly the NLC flag to avoid being hassled by strike enforcers, the Third Mainland Bridge is eerily empty - The strike is holding fast.

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Reader Comments (1)

Thank God for this vital information.I was so paranoid and disappointed until I read the above account.I was at the protest area that morning just to discover it was so empty.At that moment I remembered words from Tunde Bakare and Femi Kuti vehemently saying"#65 or nothing" and even encouraged to be ready to face any challenge or threat that might face us in the request for good governance.So,seeing the protest ground empty,with the absence of these human rights activists,celebrities and my fellow people,I was made to believe many of us are cowards and toothless dogs that only bark.However,with this account of chopcassava I have been convinced that my earlier notion is wrong and naughty.
However,I must use this medium to commend many civil societies and human right activists for the great role they played in the struggle,if not for them,the strike wouldn't have been meaningful and a check to the powers of the government.God heal Nigeria!And I must not forget to commend the Aung San Suu Kyi of our country,Funmi Iyanda.With her crew for the great job.

January 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTosin Okunaiya

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