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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Friday
Mar022012

JAN 19 - The Elders' March (02:36)

On January 19th, a small group meets at the Lagos State House of Assembly to protest the deployment of soldiers on the streets of Lagos. All over the country the protest is dissipating and the small numbers of protesters are a stark contrast to the close to a million people who had turned out at Ojota days earlier.

The group is led by three distinguished, elder statesmen - former presidential candidate and lawyer, Dr Tunji Braithwaithe, eminent legal scholar Professor Ben Nwabueze and Kalu Idika Kalu, a former Finance Minister. Also present are Occupy Nigeria activists and religious leaders. The elders' want to help publicise the protest and hope their presence will protect their younger, supposedly more dispensible allies from a violent response by the military and police.

The State government although publicly at odds with the deployment of Federal troops declines to support the marchers who are determined to reclaim Freedom Park. 

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