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Fuel strikes grip nervous Nigeria

ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Socially influential leaders in Nigeria said if the government can't control fuel protests, it's unlikely to be capable of dealing with terrorists.

Nigeria groups inspired in part by the Occupy movement in New York and elsewhere waged strikes to protest an end to fuel subsidies in the country.

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Protest organizers and labor unions called for peaceful protests Monday. Riot police were deployed, though they were largely outnumbered and violence was reported in some parts of the country, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Jan. 1 called for an end to a fuel subsidy in place for roughly 40 years. Petrol prices at Nigerian service stations have more than doubled since the subsidy ended. The Telegraph reported most people in Nigeria make less per day than the current average price for a gallon of petrol.

Public transportation, meanwhile, is at a standstill in parts of the country. Nigeria authors Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Adichie expressed concern that threats from Islamic sect Boko Haram would make the national crisis worse.

"The country's leadership should not view the incessant attacks as mere temporary misfortune with which the citizenry must learn to live," the statement read. "They are precursors to events that could destabilize the entire country."

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