Mass protest over hike in Nigerian fuel prices leaves three dead


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A national strike paralysed much of Nigeria yesterday, with more than 10,000 demonstrators taking to the streets in the commercial capital to protest against soaring fuel prices and decades of government corruption in the oil-rich country.

At least one person was killed in the unrest in Lagos, and a large mob pushed the body in a wheelbarrow down the street. And in the northern city of Kano, another two people died and at least 31 were wounded when security officers used tear gas and fired at crowds protesting against the fuel price rises.

Protesters in Lagos took petrol from motorbikes to set tyres ablaze. Some demonstrators waved placards bearing an effigy of President Goodluck Jonathan with devil horns and fanged teeth, and showing him pumping fuel at a petrol station.

"Our leaders are not concerned about Nigerians. They are concerned about themselves," said Joseph Adekolu, a 42-year-old accountant.

Petrol prices have risen from $1.70 (£1.10) a gallon to at least $3.50 a gallon since a government fuel subsidy ended on 1 January.

That caused food and transport prices to rise across a nation of more than 160 million people, most of whom live on less than $2 a day.

While MPs criticised the President's decision to end the subsidy, the unions vowed to continue their strike.