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Mass General Strikes Across Nigeria as Dozens Protest Rising Cost of Living

The cost of living crisis is blamed on President Tinubu's policy decisions which removed petrol subsidies last May when he took office, as well as the lifting of restrictions on currency trading.

Thousands of Nigerians have since last week been protesting a soaring cost of living crisis, as the country is experiencing a terrible economic crisis with inflation at its highest in almost three decades.

The protests started up north two weeks ago, particularly in the country’s Niger, Kano, Kogi, and Oyo states, and then on Monday another round of demonstrations took place in Ibadan, one of the country’s largest cities.

With placards reading ‘end bad government now’ and ‘end hunger’, protesters lamented soaring prices of basic commodities such as meat, eggs, gari, and milk.

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The country’s currency, the naira continued to plummet on the local forex market (dropping to 1,712 naira per dollar), as inflation rose to as high as 30% according to the country’s statistics bureau. In one bizarre instance on Monday, a Governor in the country’s northeastern state of Borno urged residents to partake in a one-day statewide fast as an intervention against the rising cost of food.

“There is too much hunger. We can’t pay our children’s school fees, we can’t pay our rent… it’s difficult to eat. The pain is too much,” said 38-year-old business owner, Titilayo Olusegun during the Ibadan protests on Monday.

The situation has now caused the country’s National Labour Congress to issue a notice of intended nationwide strikes scheduled later this month. But labour unions in some states have already announced indefinite strikes for this week. On Monday also, the fuel tankers association striked in Lagos over rising operational costs.

What’s driving the crisis?

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The cost of living crisis is blamed on President Tinubu’s policy decisions which removed petrol subsidies last May when he took office, as well as the lifting of restrictions on currency trading.

In its 2024 outlook report for Africa, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) warned that countries like Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, and Ethiopia, where these subsidies have been removed stand the risk of social unrest and internal conflicts.

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