8 Jan 2012

Nigerian leader defends removal of fuel subsidies

10:13 pm on 8 January 2012

The President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan has gone on television to defend his removal of fuel subsidies in Africa's largest oil-producing nation.

He says the subsidies were economically unsustainable and had to go, but he added he understood the anger people felt.

The BBC reports that unions have called an indefinite general strike, to start on Monday.

Mr Jonathan removed the subsidies on 1 January as part of a government austerity drive and a push to end corruption in the domestic fuel sector.

Petrol prices more than doubled in response and there have been angry street protests.

Mr Jonathan also promised to cut top government salaries by 25% and ban all but essential international travel.