Nigeria closes its borders amid unrest from Islamists, strikers
Nigeria's president met with security chiefs to discuss Islamist group Boko Haram, while Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka warned his country may be heading toward civil war.
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“Muslim and Christian leaders should assist towards achieving inter-faith harmony and peace among our communities. President Goodluck Jonathan should overhaul his security apparatus to achieve greater impact. It is also conceivable that large-scale criminal activities are being organized under the cover of Boko Haram. Nigerians expect government to provide the necessary protection over their lives and property.Skip to next paragraph
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“Nigerians should be vigilant over attempts to trigger massive conflicts between Christians and Muslims to divert attention from real development problems which affect Nigeria. We must all resist the pressure to play to the script of Boko Haram to set us up against each other, or to use Boko Haram to deflate our legitimate campaigns.”
Meanwhile, nationwide strikes over the removal of a government fuel subsidy entered their third day, threatening to grind Nigeria’s export economy to a halt. On Jan. 1, President Goodluck Jonathan announced that he would remove the subsidy, which had reduced the price that ordinary Nigerians pay for refined fuels such as gasoline and paraffin. Gasoline prices more than doubled, a shocker in a country where most of the population of 150 million lives on less than $2 a day.
The government has argued that the subsidies cost the government more than $8 billion a year, money that could be used to improve roads and electric power grids, hospitals and schools.
President Jonathan on Tuesday met with his security chiefs to discuss strategy on the dual challenges of fuel strikes and Boko Haram.
Nigeria’s Nobel prize laureate Wole Soyinka – who joined other Nigerian authors such as Chinua Achebe in signing a declaration in support of the protesters – told the BBC yesterday that conditions in the country are beginning to resemble the leadup to Nigeria’s bloody civil war of the 1960s.
“It’s not an unrealistic comparison — it’s certainly based on many similarities…. We see the nation heading towards a civil war,” he said.
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