Petrol prices have almost doubled in the neighbouring Republic of Benin after it was announced that fuel subsidies would be scrapped in Nigeria, the BBC reports.

This recalls reports over the years that unscrupulous businessmen, often in connivance with government border agents, smuggled fuel, subsidised in Nigeria, across the country’s boundaries, into Benin and Niger republics, as well as Cameroun, among others, bleeding the local economy.

This was reportedly done by big and medium operators who ferried 33,000 litre fuel tankers across the country’s borders in the dark of the night, as well as by moonlighters with jerry cans, riding on motorbikes, donkeys and on foot.

Nigeria is one of Africa’s oil giants and subsidised petroleum products are routinely smuggled into Benin, where they’re mostly sold by the roadside and serve a large part of the population, the BBC reports.

Popularly called kpayo – which means “unoriginal” in Goun, a native language in Benin Republic – it is cheaper than fuelling up at stations, local media reported.

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu had in his inauguration speech on Monday, said fuel subsidy was “gone”, an announcement that triggered panic-buying and a surge in fuel prices, from the range of N200 per litre to the range of N500.

Government had said that the cost of the fuel subsidy was too high and had become unsustainable.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) had announced in February that the country was spending over N400 billion monthly on petroleum subsidy.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) irked by government announcement to end the fuel subsidy has declared a nationwide strike from next Wednesday.

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NLC President Joe Ajaero made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja.

Ajaero said the government, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited had up until Wednesday to revert to the old price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise referred to as petrol.

Ajaero added that failure of the Federal Government to meet the ultimatum would attract an indefinite protest across the country.

Labour is of the view that the decision was rushed, done without due consultation and that there are no clearly stated buffers to cushion the impact on Nigerians.

In an apparent effort to sooth frayed nerves, President Bola Tinubu said Friday, that his government was looking to review Nigeria’s official minimum wage to make it better reflect the economic realities of the times.

Tinubu said bringing about improvements in the welfare of the generality of Nigerians is the primary focus of his administration.

He added that his administration would be coming out with more people-focused economic policies to improve the standard of living of Nigerians.

“If we work together, the Nigeria of our dreams is not far away”, he assured.