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An executive with a top gas station owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the move would push companies to be more efficient so they can cut costs and sell at more competitive prices.

But for Nigerians, the subsidy was a rare government perk and one they don’t want to lose.

Esan, the taxi driver who is afraid to raise his prices, is despondent about his financial future if he stays in Nigeria. He’s already started immigration procedures for three other countries.

“I had been saving to buy my own car, but with this, I just want to leave this country,” he said.

Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria contributed to this report.