Son of Afro-beat legend Fela Kuti, Seun Anikulapo-Kuti, is no stranger to speaking out, but last week he stepped out from behind the mike and into the streets.
January 1 saw the sudden removal of state petrol subsidies in Nigeria, which sent fuel prices skyrocketing. As Seun states in his CNN write-up, ‘With an increase in the price of petrol by 117% from 65 naira (40 cents) to 141 naira (86 cents) and even 200 naira ($1.23) in some places, virtually everything in Nigeria has risen in price overnight.’
In a country whose majority lives on about £1.30 a day, this increase poses a large economic threat to families nationwide.
Anger has mounted since the decision and resulted in protests throughout Nigeria last week. As only can be expected of musician and activist Fela Kuti’s son, Seun was at the front of the demonstrations. The Guardian, who was with him on the streets of Lagos, quoted Seun to say “fuel subsidy was our only welfare and it cannot be taken away.”
Urging Nigerians to refuse to accept the corruption, Seun stated, ‘we the people no longer want to be the doormats on which our politicians wipe their feet on their way into luxury and comfort. Nothing has improved in education, agriculture, housing, or transport; even our sports industry has been decimated.’
He went on to say while addressing the protesters, ”Africans today are more educated than ever before. There is no reason for us not have people in power who support our interests. The government with their propaganda machine can no longer kill or quell whatever movement was happening, although they’re still trying.”
This article originally appeared in SONGLINES.