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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Entries in fuel subsidy (2)


Jan 10th - Voices from the Park (01:59)

As the days pass the crowd at Gani Fawehinmi park grows bigger still as citizens, entertainment stars, activists and politicians gather to support the protest. 'Freedom Park' becomes like a cross between Woodstock and Tahir Square.

Voices from the park include Seun Kuti, son of afrobeat legend Fela, Ade Bantu and others.


Jan 9 - Nigeria takes to the Streets (02:58)


JAN 9 - The first day of the general strike called by the Labour and civil society groups. Demonstrations and protest rallies are held across Lagos. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) organises a large march from Labour House in Yaba to 'Freedom Park,' Ojota. The Gani Fawehinmi Park, named after a civil rights campaigner is beoming the focal point of the protests in the City.

Cherry, white and green NLC flags contribute to the festive atmosphere and Fela Kuti hits blare out as the procession heads to Ojota.