Last year January marked a significant watershed in the annals of Nigeria as the country was almost brought down to its knees by Nigerians, Civil Society Groups and Labour following the sudden announcement of petrol subsidy removal by President Goodluck Jonathan on new year day.
The government’s action led to a hike in the price of premium motor spirit from N65 to N141.
The protest which was similar to others across the African continent that swept away anti-people regimes, came to be known as the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ movement. But the protests wasn’t without casualties as no fewer than 20 lives were lost during the civil action and general strike, which lasted for two weeks.
In remembrance of that epoch event and in memory of Nigerians that were felled by government forces bullets, the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said civil society groups would mark the anniversary.
Speaking on the significance of the protests, Odumakin said that had they been allowed to attain their full potential, the alleged suspects indicted in the subsidy probe would have been imprisoned by now.
He said, “The only regret is that unlike in the Arab Spring, Occupy Nigeria did not lead to the overthrow of the corrupt elite. They have recovered from the January scorch to be more ruthless in looting the nation’s resources.
“A few days before the end of the 2012, the president asked again for N161bn for subsidy despite N888bn budgeted in a year that N32 was added to a litre of fuel. All those indicted in the subsidy scam are walking free.”
He, however alluded to the fact that the group felt fulfilled with the protests as it opened the eyes of Nigerians to the widespread corruption that has pervaded the oil sector, especially with the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu fuel subsidy probe report
He said without the protests, the facts would not have been established.
“Also, this regime has not been able to announce a fresh hike in the price of fuel because it is still being haunted by the ghost of those protests. But we shall do it again, if the need arises.”