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Rising cost of living may trigger social unrests in Nigeria, Kenya, others, AfDB warns

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has also scheduled a two-day nationwide protest over the hardship being experienced by Nigerians as well as the deteriorating security situation in the country.

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has raised the alarm that rising prices of fuel and other commodities could lead to social unrest in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Angola, and Kenya.

The AfDB sounded the warning in its macroeconomic performance and outlook for 2024, in which it projected Africa’s economy to grow higher than the 3.2 percent recorded in 2023.

The AfDB projected that growth on the continent would rebound to 3.8% in 2024.

However, the bank cautioned that an increase in fuel and commodity prices occasioned by currency depreciation or subsidy removal in Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, and Ethiopia could trigger internal conflicts.

It stated: “Internal conflicts and violence could also result from rising prices for fuel and other commodities due to weaker domestic currencies and reforms.

“For instance, the removal of fuel subsidies in Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria and the resulting social costs have led to social unrest driven by opposition to government policy.”

Also, the AfDB said the rise of geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, in addition to the El Nino phenomenon, may trigger supply chain disruptions, which could aggravate energy and food inflation across the world, making Africa more vulnerable to these shocks.

The rising cost of living has become something to worry about in Nigeria, with some Nigerians hitting the streets in some states in recent times in protest.

The cost of living crisis is blamed on the federal government’s policies of petrol subsidy removal and floating of the naira.

The protest over increasing hardship started in Minna, Niger State, on February 5, with many other states holding similar protests after.

Meanwhile, some well-meaning Nigerians have been speaking about the current situation in the country, warning that if it is not quickly nipped in the bud, things could deteriorate.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad, said at the 6th Executive Committee Meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council on Wednesday in Kaduna that the economic hardship in Nigeria had reached a level where citizens were agitated, angry, and hungry.

He specifically warned the Federal Government that the hardship, insecurity, poverty, and unemployment in Nigeria and the North, in particular, were getting to a level where they could no longer pacify the people from revolting.

“To make matters worse, we are faced with the rising level of poverty amongst our people, lack of normal sources of livelihood for the common man to have, even if it is one good meal a day.

“I believe talking about insecurity and the rising level of poverty are two issues on which we cannot fold our arms and think everything is okay. I have said it so many times and at so many fora that things are not okay in Nigeria, and of course, things are not okay in the North,” he said.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has also scheduled a two-day nationwide protest over the hardship being experienced by Nigerians as well as the deteriorating security situation in the country.

At a news conference after an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union on Friday, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said the protest will begin a week after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum it gave the Federal Government, which will expire on February 23.

The nationwide protests are scheduled for February 27 and 28.

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