Nigerian trade unions planned to join angry protests Monday against the government's decision to remove fuel subsidies in the continent's largest oil producer.
The decision on January 1 more than doubled fuel prices in a country where most of the population of about 150 million lives on less than $2 per day.
Labor union leaders have called for national strikes, and are planning a mass shutdown in the country starting Monday.
Citizens of Africa's most populous nation have staged "Occupy Nigeria" mass demonstrations since the decision, with police responding forcefully in some cases.
"I am not an economist, but it is clear common sense that the removal of fuel subsidy, even if it seems to be the easiest solution, is not even an option," said Hadiza Halliru, an Abuja protester.
"The fuel hike, which has doubled and even tripled in some states, would affect not only transportation but the price of food stuff, clothing, any form of direct labor, construction costs. But salaries still remain the same, which means everyone who directly pays bills will be affected, especially the middle class and the poor."
Many Nigerians view the subsidy as the only benefit of living in an oil producing country that has little infrastructure, poor roads, high unemployment and intermittent electric power.
"Though we know that in the long run, removal of subsidy will help the economy, for now it is a high profile lifestyle that is unbearable for most Nigerians and soon the poorer ones will die out," said protester Diane Awunah, who lives in Abuja.FULL STORY