Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Under Pressure, Nigerian Leader Relents on Gas Price

New York Times
16 January 2012


LAGOS, NigeriaNigeria swallowed a hard lesson on Monday that has been inflicted on governments of developing nations the world over for years: try cutting subsidies for gas and the populace will erupt in rage.

Faced down by thousands of demonstrators, demands for his removal and a weeklong general strike that paralyzed his fractious country, President Goodluck Jonathan abruptly gave in, partly restoring the fuel subsidy that — more than an Islamic insurgency in the north or a long-running conflict in the south — seemed to crystallize the frustrations of the people and draw them to the streets in outrage.

“Government appreciates that the implementation of the deregulation policy would cause initial hardships,” Mr. Jonathan said in a stiffly worded capitulation on Monday, after a week of refusing to back down.

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