Nigeria: Removal of fuel subsidy must not exacerbate poverty

Responding to Nigeria’s looming fuel shortage crisis, caused by removal the removal of a government subsidy, Isa Sanusi, Acting Director for Amnesty International Nigeria, said:

“President Bola Tinubu’s decision to remove the fuel subsidy has left millions of Nigerians terrified about the knock-on effects that it will have on their daily lives. Many are concerned that they will be unable to meet the costs of education, food and healthcare. The government is yet to suggest any ways to mitigate the impact of this decision for people on low incomes.

“While all countries are required to eventually remove all fossil fuel subsidies to meet their human rights obligations in the context of the climate crisis, they should not do so in a way that undermines the ability of people on low incomes to secure their right to an adequate standard of living. It is therefore vital that the removal of the subsidy is accompanied by social cushioning and protection measures.

“Nigerians should not have to pay the price of decades of political and economic mismanagement of the subsidy scheme. The authorities must finally respond to longstanding demands by civil society and parliamentarians to investigate the fuel market chain and hold accountable all those involved in smuggling, hoarding and ‘subsidy scams’ — regardless of rank or status.

“The Nigerian authorities must urgently put in place measures to protect the rights of people most affected by the removal of the fuel subsidies and prioritize addressing widespread hunger, higher unemployment and the rapidly falling standard of living.”


On Monday 29 May, in his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu said Nigeria’s fuel subsidies would be scrapped, citing budgetary concerns. The decision led to a steep rise in fuel prices and widespread panic-buying of fuel. Some bus companies have been unable to refuel their vehicles, leaving many people stranded.