Living In Nigeria Now ‘Unbearable For Displaced People’ After Fuel Subsidy Removal

People who have been displaced by the Boko Haram crisis in Borno say the inflation following the announcement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the fuel subsidy will be removed has made day-to-day living even harder than it was.

Inflation caused by the removal of the fuel subsidy has hit displaced people very hard.

Before the fuel subsidy was removed, Ali Bakka, father of six from Borno northeastern Nigeria said he used to spend ₦100 getting to where he works as a labourer, earning ₦500 per day. 

The cost of transport has jumped up to ₦300, it trebled overnight.

“Now, just imagine spending ₦300 on transport to go to my workplace where I earn ₦500 daily?” Bakka says. 

After a full day’s physical labour, he walks home, and with the small amount of money remaining he can only buy the most basic ingredients for a meal; just starch and a flavour cube.

“Whenever I am coming back home, I think of my family. So, I trek and use the money I get to buy gritted maize and Maggi seasoning for them. Before one arrives home because of the long distance, you will see that it’s already time for Magrib prayers.” 


On May 29 2023, moments after he was sworn in as the new president of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared that “the fuel subsidy is gone”, which he said money meant for the subsidy will be channelled to public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs creation. 

“The way we came out en masse to vote for this government and Allah granted it victory, to wipe our tears, they should emphatically look at the situation we are in and put this thing (subsidy) in order,” Bakka told HumAngle in Hausa on the phone. 

The people living in displaced people’s camps are  in a difficult situation, he said. 

Even before the removal of the fuel subsidy, aid groups had stopped providing humanitarian assistance. 

“The NGOs that used to be here don’t come anymore. The financial stress we are going through is much. We have children, we don’t have food, our tents are all torn and the rainy season has set in,” he said. 


Millions of people have been forced to flee Boko Haram’s brutality over the last decade, creating a major humanitarian disaster. 

Last month, the United Nations said it needed $396 million to help plug the huge “hunger gap” in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. 

“We don’t know what the government planned to do but they should reverse this policy. We are pleading with the government to put the subsidy,” Ya Sani, another IDP said. 

He said he is not the only person complaining about the removal of the fuel subsidy. “Our people who are in villages like Gamboru and Dikwa who want to come into Maiduguri cannot come because of the hike in transport fare.”

The removal of fuel subsidy has made life difficult for them. “We can’t move because the transport fare has increased. Movement has become a tough exercise,” he added. 

Children beaten

Tijjani Abdulkadir, another IDP said he now treks to where he works. 

“I used to pay ₦50 to go to the place where I work as a labourer. After the removal of the fuel subsidy, it’s now ₦150. Because I cannot afford it, I now trek from the camp where I live to the workplace. 

“I trek a distance of about 3.5km everyday to go to work and my children trek half that to school because we can’t pay the transport fare anymore. We are always tired now. 

“My children that go to school, now trek to school because the situation we find ourselves in is unbearable,” he said. 

Tijjani said the support they get from aid organisations comes intermittently. For this month, he said they have not been notified on the day it will arrive. 

“Someone gives me sheep to sell every day and if I am lucky to help him sell one, I get ₦500, sometimes ₦1000, though rarely. 

“And, when our children trek to school, they arrive late. The teachers don’t even care, they beat them for late coming,” Tijjanii told HumAngle on the phone. 

He said as a poor man who doesn’t expect a monthly salary from the government, he said all he wants is a way to care for his wife and six children. 

“I want staple food products to be affordable for the common. So that I can provide for my family what they will put in their mouth,” he said. 

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Mahdi Garba

Mahdi Garba covers development, security, conflict, climate & disinformation at HumAngle. He heads the Humanitarian Desk at HumAngle. He tweets regularly @MahdiGarba.

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