I was on Twitter last night, wasting time like I usually do. My OCD and ADHD prevents me from having a normal person’s sleeping schedule so lately I’ve been on Twitter chatting and interacting with people from Anonymous and the Occupy movement.
Not to many days ago, I remember one Anonymous member, @PLF2012, reminded his or her followers that Occupy was about to make its mark in Nigeria. It was a subtle tweet and because of that I didn’t take it seriously. I doubt many people did.
Come Monday at about 3:00 a.m. ET time in the United States, Nigerians hit the streets and began protesting (there were also reports of buildings being hacked).
From the reports I have received, protests started with the help of unions and workers rights organizations. The protests were a result of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian government’s decision to remove oil subsidies for its citizens on Jan. 1. He said the subsidies were simply “unsustainable.”
To the average American, the removal of an oil subsidy for the citizens of Nigeria may not seem harsh, but if you understood that 160 million Nigerians live off two dollars a day, you would realize the removal of this subsidy is nothing but devastating to most of the public. Since Jan. 1, gas prices have risen from $1.70 (45 cents per liter) to $3.50 (94 cents per liter). This increase has already begun to crush the economy as the increase has led to an increase in food prices too.
Last night, shops, businesses, offices, schools and oil stations were shut down due to the protests. The nation was effectively held ineffective on Monday—Something sure to catch the eye of those who are eager to control Nigeria’s most prized asset: Oil.
In a time where austerity and protests have swept the globe, it is no surprise that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have been pushing for Nigeria to “shore up” its economy and remove oil subsidies that greatly benefit the people of Nigeria.
These protests couldn’t come at a worse time for President Jonathan and the people of Nigeria. They are in the midst of a war between a militant Islamist group of Boko Haram. Recently, they’ve allegedly killed dozens of Christians. However, some residents are not buying into what they call the Nigerian government’s attempt to find a scapegoat for their unjustified killings of rivals. The President believes that his government officials may have ties with the group. Now this gives him a “legitimate reason” to view the protests as a terror movement. The violence Nigeria has unfortunately begun to see is now justified.
Here is a picture from user @NaijaCyberHack. He or she posted this photo not long after the first reports of the Nigerian protests:
Not long after the first few tweets about Occupy Nigeria (maybe something like an hour later), the first reports of a murder manifested. A protester was said to have been shot by Nigerian police. Few details arose from the situation, but it became evident that the citizens of Nigeria were in for a long 2012.
Today, I stumbled onto some evidence that showed that 12 people were killed in Lagos, Benin and Kano due to Occupy Nigeria. Not all of the victims were participating in the protests. Two youths were allegedly shot while playing soccer in a street that had been shut down because of the protests. The shootings have been linked to the Pen Cinema Police Station. An investigation into the shooting is underway.