While called by the country’s two main trade union federations, the strike movement began as a wave of nationwide protests which, in many areas, adopted the name Occupy Nigeria, in identification with movements in the United States and elsewhere that have broken out in opposition to economic deprivation and social inequality.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan announced the scrapping of the fuel subsidies on New Year’s Day, resulting in an immediate doubling of gasoline prices from the equivalent of $1.70 per gallon ($0.45 per liter) to $3.50 per gallon ($0.94 per liter) or higher.
In Lagos, over ten thousand demonstrators poured into the city’s Gani Fewehinni park. Singing and chanting slogans against “Badluck Jonathan”, the protesters carried placards, many of them hand-written, with slogans such as “Subsidy removal is a huge economic fraud”, “Nigeria is not Animal Farm”, and “The poor will have nothing to eat but the rich.” One popular poster portrayed Jonathan with a devil’s horns and fangs pumping gas at a filling station. Large numbers of youth marched waving sticks and tree boughs.