Categories
Tasks and Perspectives

Nigerian police unit to be ‘disbanded,’ but protests continue

By OKEZIE ADINDU and REGINA LONCAREVIC

This article mirrors an article originally uploaded to Socialist Resurgence.

After a week of mass organizing across Nigeria, officials announced on Sunday, Oct. 11, their intentions to dissolve the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), a particular unit of the Nigerian Police Force known for corrupt policing and excessive use of (often lethal) force. 

Protesters have continued to hit the streets following the announcement, unconvinced that state officials will follow through. Officials have promised police reform for years, and the rampant police brutality has only gotten more severe. If the mass mobilizations end now, many Nigerians don’t believe that officials would seriously address issues of police brutality. In fact, already there is word of creating a new police unit that would replace SARS.

SARS was founded in 1992 as a way to combat the rising rate of robbery in Lagos; however, these specialized units very quickly cropped up in every state of Nigeria. The unit originally focused only on robbery, but their role expanded to include kidnapping and cultism. As their rules of engagement became increasingly broad and ill-defined, the unit devolved into corruption, brutality, and unprofessionalism, paralleling the decaying structure of the Nigerian police force as a whole. 

Protest in Port Harcourt. (Okezie Adindu)

Allegations of extrajudicial killings, bribery, extortion, sexual assault, and harassment seem never-ending when it comes to the Nigerian police, especially SARS in particular. 

Horrific history of police brutality and misconduct 

In late 2009, a report by Amnesty International stated that hundreds of people are unlawfully killed by the Nigerian police every year. Many of these murders are the result of excessive force during arrest. Others are simply extrajudicial executions by police officers. Some officers have even killed people for failing to pay a bribe to officers—and this is only the most severe form of extortion.  

In June (2020), Amnesty International reported that Nigerian authorities had failed to prosecute even one single SARS officer for misconduct. This is despite anti-torture legislation passed in 2017 and substantial evidence that SARS officers have continued to torture people taken into custody—sometimes to death. In February, BBC African Eye even uncovered footage of torture being used by multiple branches of the Nigerian police and armed forces. One particular form of torture seems to be widely used on detainees, both as punishment and during interrogation—the method has even been used on children detainees. 

This has been going on for well over a decade, yet Nigerian officials fail to act, instead preferring to turn a blind eye to the brutality, extortion, and lack of professionalism. Perpetrators face no legal justice, and the families of victims very rarely receive any sort of reparations. 

Protesters familiar with empty promises of police reform

In spite of the president’s assurances to reform the police, and the subsequent announcement that SARS would be dissolved given by the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria, protests have not slowed.Protesters are demanding the unconditional release of those arrested during this last week of protest.

Further, the Nigerian people have seen countless instances of governmental promises to reform the police that never come to fruition. In fact, just two days after the announcement that SARS would be “disbanded,” the Inspector General of Police then announced plans to replace SARS with a new policing unit, this time under the new name Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. 

It’s unlikely this new policing unit will address the issues seen in SARS. Consider that in 2018, the government set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the activities of SARS and make recommendations for reform. The commission’s report has yet to even be made public—and this is almost two years after the panel submitted its findings to the government.

Of course, you hardly need an official report to notice misconduct within SARS. Viral videos capturing countless acts of brutality by SARS officers dominate the internet in Nigeria. Nigerian youths are especially likely to be victimized. SWAT will almost certainly continue this legacy of police brutality, and this is why the mass mobilizations in Nigeria are not about to subside any time soon.

Relationship to global movement for Black Lives Matter

“Our lives matter!” chant protesters in Port Harcourt. “End police brutality!”

The movement in Nigeria is, of course, part of a larger movement that’s been happening internationally. What began in the U.S. following the murder of George Floyd has spread to countries all over the world, demanding an end to police brutality and the racist targeting and murder of Black lives. 

This indicates just how influential these kinds of mass mobilizations can be. Further, this trend has strong implications for the self-determination of oppressed peoples. Nigeria, once a British colony, officially attained independence back in 1960, but the impact of imperialism remains a strong influence on the country. 

What has been achieved in a few days of relentless effort is an indication of the power of the masses working together as a united front. In Nigeria, people face political corruption, insecurity, and total government failure to provide basic needs like housing and medical care. This victory has shown the masses of Nigeria that their power lies in independent organizing against the oppressors. 

As the class struggle in Nigeria deepens, workers will see the importance in organizing a revolutionary political party independent of the ruling class. After all, we have nothing to lose but our chains!  

Categories
Tasks and Perspectives

Solidarity with all the oppressed Nigerians

Isimala and Yusuf are from Gwadabawa, the local government area of Sokoto, but both now live in  Abuja Nigeria. Isimala was born  1978 (42yrs) and Yusuf 1975 (45yrs) respectively; Isimala has two wives with seven children, while Yusuf has three wives with ten children. Both reviewed that they have been farmers all their lives and did not attend any form of classroom education. 

Rice and corn FarmDeiDeiAbujaNigeria#Yusulf&Isimalay

In Spite of being farmers all their lives, they do not have farmland of their own. They are farming for big oligarchies who have the power to seize land and control the peasant economy. Like many other small farmers that make up this peasantry class, Yusulf and Isimala are in abject poverty. Life has not been easy for them–something true for all the oppressed people of Nigeria, regardless of whether they are out in the farms or taking on wage labor in the city. Like in much of Nigeria, In a time where house rent has risen unprecedentedly in Abuja,  one will wonder with the level of poverty in Nigeria, which Yusulf&Isimala is completely victims of, how have they managed with accommodation? According Yusulf&Isimala, they have lived in Abuja for 14years and have found shelter on any uncompleted buildings and sometimes move under any available cave. It is disheartening that our people are poor in the midst of plenty, is painful that millions of Nigerians are  going to bed hungry,  Nigeria’s poverty crisis is worsening, Oxfam, World Bank data, while politicians keep looting our common resources with numerous tactics,  with corruptions well planned and executed.  

These variables over the years have become powerful divisive tools used in Nigeria, to keep the oppressed class isolated and angry against each other. The oppressors have hid under them to divide and keep us away from each other. Someone like Yususl and Isimala who is Muslims from Northern     Nigeria, have a different political and religious view which is  designed in such way that made them think the right people to be in position of power are muslims, and the best religion is Islam, and this is applicable to someone in the in the Southern Nigeria. This is completely a gamic and designed injustice by the the oppressor to make sure we don’t unite.    

Ethnicity, Religion, political affiliation and gender a gamic of the oppressors . 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/nigerian-ethnic-violence-conflict-amplifies-religious-divide-190820103814529.html

We are one people, all the oppressed people of the world are one, all the oppressed Nigerians are one people. Religion, ethnicity, political affiliation and gender does not matter. We must unite against political corruption and we must unite to change those who have kept us in the cave for many years.

Since Yusulf&Isimala is suffering abject poverty as a result of corruption and Emeka and Olamide are still suffering the same poverty as a result of corruption makes us one people. What we have is two classes of people, two religions, two political parties, the oppressed and oppressors.  

We are one people.  

Musa is a herder from #Abuja. He is passionate to succeed in life, but the system subjected him to this exploitative job. Musa, has never been to any classroom education before. The deprivation is intentional, and is geared towards making him a lesser human who’s psych can be manipulated to serve the master business.

The ethnic tensions, which many have lost their lives to, is a manipulated battle to grab up land by the herders, all while getting protection of the land by farmers. This animosity serves the oligarchies, who profit off the land. Its obvious this divide is manipulation by the oppressors to further divide the people who are oppressed. People like #ShyibuMusa walk miles to feed cattle that he has no economic control over.

He is from #Fulaniethnic group, I am from #Igboethnic group, two ethnic group that the oppressors have manipulated in hopes of dividing us. But I love him and he loves me. He is a victim of oppression and I am a victim of oppression, so we are one. We must, as people from the same oppressed class, unite irrespective of your ethnicity, religion gender, and sex. We must unite in a formidable class movement. This is how we will end oppression of us both.

I stand in solidarity with him and I feel his suffering as if it were my own. Workers of the world unite.

Categories
Educational Examples

The Igbo women’s revolution of 1929.

Comrades, let us be clear: there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. In Africa, the contribution of women in the fight against imperialism must be acknowledged for its crucial role in our revolutionary journey. In this article, we tell the story of the 1929 women’s revolution in Southeastern Nigeria. 

What were they revolting against?

Women were protesting against the exploitative and oppressive rule by warrant chiefs, unjust court systems, and taxes imposed on market women. All of this is rooted in British colonial rule. Warrant chiefs were the result of British colonialism, with British imperialists appointing chief-status to some of the indigenous elite. This resulted in some holding unprecedented levels of individual authority over many colonies; for example, prior to colonialism, the Igbo people made decisions through debate or through general consensus, not through the declaration of chiefs or kings. Warrant chiefs became increasingly exploitative, accumulating wealth at the expense of their subjects. Further, this colonialist intervention worsened (or in some cases, created) patriarchal systems of oppression, as only men were allowed to be warrant chiefs. 

Much of this exploitation occured through the court and taxation systems, which had now become corrupted thanks to colonial influence on the political system through the elevated status of warrant chiefs and the presence of British officials. For example, warrant chiefs began seizing property from their subjects, and they would imprison anyone who spoke out against them. Later, colonial administrators announced intentions to impose a special taxes on the Igbo market women, which would of course lead to the disproportionate success of the new European-owned stores:

“These women were responsible for supplying the food to the growing urban populations in Calabar, Owerri, and other Nigerian cities. They feared the taxes would drive many of the market women out of business and seriously disrupt the supply of food and non-perishable goods available to the populace.”

Aba Women’s Riots, Marissa Evans, Black Past

Forced economic reliance is a persistent tactic seen in colonial expansion, especially in current, “post-colonial” imperialism. For example, if you check out our other article Capitalism in Nigeria, and a call for unity of the proletariat!, we go over the environmental degradation caused primarily by western oil companies. This imperialist resource extraction destroys local soils and waterways, making it impossible for Nigerians to rely on farming and fishing.

Thus, they’re forced to rely on imports into the country, fostering this economic reliance on the imperialist powers exploiting them. This is also why the myth that technological development can “fix” the poverty of so-called undeveloped countries is so dangerous. It’s literally saying that addressing poverty in these countries can be solved only by more imperialist intervention…it’s masking the true cause of the problem, and it’s often framing the “helpers” as those seeking to profit further off economic exploitation. This is often nothing more than a reshuffling of exploitation meant to manufacture the consent of the exploited parties involved, and redirect anger towards the parties that aren’t really responsible. The misdirection of anger is very likely why local warrant chiefs were granted control of colonies. This masks the true source of systemic power. Thankfully, the Igbo women were not fooled by this: “Although much of the anger was directed against the warrant chiefs, most Nigerians knew the source of their power, British colonial administrators.”

What happened? 

In November 1929, thousands of Igbo women took to the streets in protest. This revolutionary action was led by rural women in the Owerri and Carlaba provinces, as well as in smaller nearby towns.

“Using the traditional practice of censoring men through all night song and dance ridicule (often called ‘sitting on a man’), the women chanted and danced, and in some locations forced warrant chiefs to resign their positions. The women also attacked European owned stores and Barclays Bank and broke into prisons and released [political] prisoners. They also attacked Native Courts run by colonial officials, burning many of them to the ground. Colonial Police and troops were called in. They fired into the crowds that had gathered at Calabar and Owerri, killing more than 50 women and wounding over 50 others. During the two month “war” at least 25,000 Igbo women were involved in protests against British officials.”

Aba Women’s Riots, Marissa Evans, Black Past

This gathering of women was compromised of women from six different ehthnic groupsㅡlbibio, andoni, ogoni, bonny, opobo, and Igbo. These women came together in solidarity to fight colonialism and Patriarchal systems of oppression, despite the emerging ethnic and religious tensions (which were ultimately rooted in colonial rule). This event marked the first major anti-colonial revolt led by women in west Africa, and many anti-colonial movements in Africa calling for independence from imperialist forces were built around this very revolt.

Did it work?

Indeed the purpose of the revolt was achieved! During this time, many warrant chiefs were forced to resign, and sixteen courts were destroyed. Colonial authorities were forced to drop their plans to impose a tax on the market women, and the power of warrant chiefs was significantly weakened. In 1930, the colonial government was even forced to abolish the system of warrant chiefs altogether, and several women were appointed to the native court systems.  

Nigeria, today.

Currently, Nigeria is facing severe oppression. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing more Nigerians dying of security officers than increasingly violent policing than the virus itself. With ports closing down, many are more fearful of starvation than coronavirus:

Njoku and her husband relied on their eldest son, who is into furniture work, for their daily meals. Unfortunately, that source of income has been put on hold since the state was on lockdown about four weeks ago. […]

The grey-haired woman has heard of government palliatives, food and a sum of N20,000 the Federal Government is giving out to vulnerable people like her to cushion the effect of lockdown but none has yet to come her way.  ‘I have not received any palliatives from government,’ she disclosed.

“‘I have become sick because of hunger. If not for God and help from some generous people, maybe I would have died by now,’ the grandmother bemoaned as she began to share her ongoing excruciating moments.

We’re old, poor and hungry, yet we’ve received no cash from FG –Lagos’ vulnerable persons, Punch News

This reliance on imports is explicitly linked to environmental degradation decreasing the viability of farming and fishing. This environmental degradation, in turn, is directly connected to western oil corporations, such as Shell and Exon-Mobile.

This forced reliance on imports is now resulting in widespread hunger throughout the country. Beyond this, as the above article indicates, help is not being sent to the families most in need of assistance. Instead, they’re met with harsh policing under the guise of safety, as if people aren’t starving, they’re just willingly disregarding quarantine. They’re not, they are hungry and in need of support. This is the same government that turned away during violent, forced evictions in waterfront communities. This is beyond corruption, this is a slow genocide.


To help out comrades in Unite4Action-Nigeria, consider contributing to the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund (GoFundMe). We appreciate any help you can give!


For more on the history of feminism, check out our related article:

Categories
Tasks and Perspectives

Pass the Nigerian climate change bill NOW!

Featured image: (2018) The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) reports that Nigeria has about 139 gas flare locations spread across the Niger Delta both in onshore and offshore oil fields.

Despite the global ecological devastation caused by climate change (especially in Nigeria), the Nigerian government has done little to implement legislation that will put a check on oil companies and other large industries polluting the environment. 80% of all wastewater coming from Nigerian industrial facilities receives no form of treatment whatsoever, and approximately 40m litres are spilled in just the Niger Delta region of Nigeria annually, often causing dangerous gas flaring that can kill hundreds of people. These industries continue to pollute our waters and destroy our farmland, making it impossible to fish or grow food. The response by the governmentㅡpast and presentㅡhas not been impressive. Indeed they’ve left many families homeless, hungry, and without access to clean drinking water, leading to cancerous diseases and other forms of illness.

Further, there has been little to no academic curriculum adjustment that will teach the younger generations of Nigeria the devastating effects of climate change, let alone the causes or remediation solutions. One can’t help but wonder if this is a deliberate act ensuring the Nigerian working classes suffer the brunt of this ecological disaster, all while left in the dark to what is happening to their soils and their waterways so that they are not inclined to speak out. It would seem the capitalist forces in power care only for increasing their profits, even at the expense of the ecosystem and the Nigerian people.

Rather than environmental justice, Nigerian families are being subjected to violent mass forced evictions, often in defiance of court orders.

The Unite4Action-Nigeria branch is on a mission to spread awareness and raise consciousness in Nigeria, especially among the youths. We want to educate the people on the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as how us Nigerians can push for remediation and political change to end the destruction. To my fellow workers of the world, please join Unite4Action-Nigerian in demanding the Nigerian government implement the Nigerian Climate Change Commission Bill into law immediately by signing our petition. This bill would compel multinational companies and industries to stop the pollution of our waterways, which currently ranges from oil spillage, to plastic and industrial wastewater disposal. Runoff further leads to the destruction of our farmlands, causing an outright public health risk. THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION BILL was introduced in the National Assembly years ago, yet we’ve gotten little information on when the bill will be passed into law. The government must act now!


For more on the impacts of climate change in Nigeria, read our article discussing the ecological devastation in Nigeria! Also consider contributing to our Patreon:

Categories
System Assessments

Capitalism in Nigeria, and a call for unity of the proletariat!

Statistically, 1 in 5 Nigerian children will die before the age of five. The bulk of this mortality rate can be attributed to preventable illness—tetanus, malaria, nutritional deficiencies [1]. One of the leading causes of death in Nigeria is diarrheal disease [2], which is unsurprising considering 30% of people have no access to clean drinking water, and over 70% are subject to inadequate sanitation conditions [3]. Yet, it feels strange to say this country has poor infrastructure, seeing as it currently has over 150 oil fields and over 1400 active oil wells [4]. In fact, Nigeria is the largest crude oil producer in Africa, and in 2010, Nigeria was the fourth largest petroleum supplier to the United States [5]

The petroleum industry in Nigeria provides 65% of the Nigerian federal budget, and the industry is the source of 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings. The top four petroleum extractors in Nigeria are Exxon Mobile (American), Chevron (American), Statoil (Norwegian), and Shell (Dutch). Other significant extractors include Addax Petroleum and Nexen Inc, both Chinese companies  [4]

While the most significant companies are actually American (US) or European, they do not abide by the environmental standards typical to those regions. For example, 80% of all wastewater coming from Nigerian industrial facilities receives no form of treatment whatsoever [5], and while 4m litres of oil are spilled annually in the United States (note: the US has surpassed Nigeria in gas and oil extraction), 40m litres are spilled in just the Niger Delta region of Nigeria annually [6]

Spills in the Niger Delta have gone unaddressed for decades (e.g. plans for clean up have been highly politicized, resulting in delays and inaction). The extent of spills and the lack of clean-up has led to severe soil and water contamination within the area. Life expectancy in the Niger Delta is 10 years below the national average, with national Nigerian life expectancy already being one of the lowest globally. Further, a high proportion of those residing in the Niger Delta rely on fishing and farming for work, so contamination has led to widespread unemployment and hunger—you can’t grow plants in polluted soil and fish can’t live in polluted waters. As noted in The Guardian, “multinational oil companies operate to severe double standards. While efforts are made to clean up spills in the US, Scotland or Norway, oil is left to flow unabated in Nigeria.” [6] It’s interesting that this article specifically cites the US and Norway, seeing as, of the top three petroleum companies in Nigeria, two are American and the other is Norwegian. Beyond contamination leading to hunger and loss of work, people who live in oil-rich regions are often forced from their homes for these profiting companies:

“A new report, The Human Cost of a Megacity: Forced Evictions of the Urban Poor in Lagos, details repeated forced evictions of the Otodo-Gbame and Ilubirin communities [in Nigeria] carried out since March 2016 without any consultation, adequate notice, compensation or alternative housing being offered to those affected. Some evictees drowned as they fled police gunfire, while at least one was shot dead.” [7] 

Was Nigeria always this way?

The country  known today as Nigeria was once divided into several different regions. Before contact with imperialist Europeans, the communal people of these regions had their own economic systems, where we the people provided the labor needed to feed one another, without the need for profiting capitalists at the very top. Families would rely on the food they grew or the fish they caught, and we maintained the farmlands and the waterways, as we understood that the sustainability of these resources was fundamental to life. We could organize our societies free from the influence of commercialism, giving us an easy connection to the products of our labor. Without oil industries poisoning the land, our bushes were green and our waters were abundant with fish. 

There are at least 250 different documented ethnic groups and tribes in Nigeria today, reminding us of the various cultural communal regions that once existed here. We existed in relative peace with one another and with the ecosystem:

“Separate villages had differences in customs and culture, although there were similarities as well.  Within a specific Igbo community government was often similar to democracy. […] Leadership was not hereditary.  High ranking men who held titles were not considered kings but rather helped run assemblies. Although these men presided over assemblies, everyone had a chance to speak and offer an opinion.  […] Igbo communities traded with each other although the economy was primarily based off of subsistence farming of crops such as yams. […] Hard work was valued so even the wealthiest participated in farming.  […] All of this would change with the arrival of British colonizers and Christian missionaries.” [8]       

The changes that brought on the Nigeria we know today were instigated by the British industrial revolution, an event that would ultimately poison every aspect of human society, regardless of geographic location. Capitalism was on a destructive mission to conquer and colonize, and us Nigerian people were not to be excluded from such damaging goals. We were indoctrinated into the world capitalist orbit, and the corruption, injustices, and constant social disorder it brought on…these problems continue to weigh heavily on us today. 


A Brief History: colonialism, oil, and civil war.

Petroleum production has actually been declining in Nigeria; nonetheless, Nigeria has been a major (typically, top 10) exporter of gas and oil since the 1970s [9]. With petroleum being such a lucrative industry, it may be hard to understand why the country of Nigeria has the highest population of people in extreme poverty—86.9 million (June 2018). To clarify, Nigeria has the highest population of people in extreme poverty, not merely the highestest proportional population. For comparison, India has the second largest population of people in extreme poverty—71.5 million. Yet the overall population of Nigeria at this time (2018) was less than 200 million, while India’s population exceeded 1.3 billion. Proportionally, 46.7% of people in Nigeria lived in extreme poverty in 2018 [10]. Also in 2018, Nigeria’s oil revenue hit $26 billion in only seven months [11]! What is going on here? 

Much of this extreme inequality comes down to rampant corruption within the Nigerian government, a government established after a multitude of military coups and an all-out civil war beginning in the late 1960s. Which, to anyone familiar with US foreign policy and the concept of shock capitalism (see The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein) and the long historical relationship between the US government and foreign military coups, this may be setting off some alarm bells. Does this corruption have anything to do with US-style intervention? Well, in 2012, the Journal of American History (Vol. 99, Issue 1, Pages 155-165) published a piece on the Nigerian Civil War, noting the role of US involvement:

“New evidence reveals that a tax battle waged by U.S. oil companies contributed to the regional and ethnic tensions leading to the outbreak of war. In the prewar oil boom period in Nigeria, U.S. independent oil companies undertook intensive lobbying and propaganda campaigns to convince Nigerians that newly imposed Libyan-style tax laws would force them out of business. In turn, they argued, the regions where they operated, as well as the ethnic groups inhabiting them, would be relegated to perpetual poverty. This campaign thus exacerbated ethnic tensions, falsely heightening the stakes over which the war was to be fought.” [12]

Beyond this, we know from declassified documents that British military forces took interest in the civil war for similar reasons: “our direct interests are trade and investment, including an important stake by Shell/BP in the eastern Region.” Further, Commonwealth Minister George Thomas wrote in August 1967, 

“The sole immediate British interest in Nigeria is that the Nigerian economy should be brought back to a condition in which our substantial trade and investment in the country can be further developed, and particularly so we can regain access to important oil installations.” [13]

Shock capitalism is when companies use “shock” events to push through neoconservative policies or governance that would not normally ever be agreed upon democratically. The lack of political stability during a civil war provided the environment needed to push through a corrupt, highly militant government—particularly, one that would benefit Western oil companies. This needs to be made clear: Western commercial industry, as well as Western military forces, are why the current Nigerian government is corrupt in a way that benefits US and European industry. Under our current capitalist system, regions like this need to exist, making it all the more inappropriate that capitalists frame philanthropy and foreign aid (e.g. more intervention) as the only viable solution to extreme poverty in Africa. 

National Debt and Foreign Aid

Like many countries in the global south, Nigeria is a country being kept in a state of under-development because it benefits global oligarchs, be they American, European, Russian, Chinese, or even Nigerian. Capitalism requires foreign resource and labor extraction (e.g. outward expansion). This requires dependent nation-states, which requires such nation-states lack an independent system of production, so that they must rely on foreign countries. This is often justified further with claims of owing a debt, that is, these nation-states are said to “owe” foreign powers for colonial development and the continued relationship of forced dependence. Typically, paying this “debt” is an insurmountable task, thanks to privatization, deregulation, concessions, etc. From the start, the debt was never meant to be paid off, as is typical of debt in general (see Debt by David Gaeber, as well as the eloquent critique of Graber’s approach in Jacobin by Mike Beggs, or the classic analysis of capitalist economy, Capital by Karl Marx). Rather, debt is an excuse for continued exploitation of labor and resources, effectively enslaving residents of the nation-state into a type of perpetual indentured servitude. 

If capital needs you for labor, they need you alive. If automation or another region provides that labor, they don’t. In the case of Nigeria, exploitation primarily boils down to environmental resource-extraction. It is therefore unsurprising that we see such high rates of mortality here. It’s also worth emphasizing that without socialist reconstruction of Nigeria, poverty, unemployment, and a high death toll will persist.


Call to Action

Considering the failure to adequately distribute resources under a capitalist economic system, socialism is the only truly viable solution here. For our Nigerian masses we need to go beyond fiscal federalism, or the ethnic nationalities’ restructuring agenda driven by acquisitive interests of capitalism (that is, creating new territories of capitalist exploitation). Socialism has the potential to restructure our material existence. What to restructure, if we have a proper understanding of Ernesto Che Guevara and Cabral’s contributions to Humanity, is our ideological and material relations between the few exploiters and the majority exploited—the haves and the have-not!

If socialism is to replace our cruel capitalist system, we need a mass movement. We need the mass mobilization and organization of all suffering people. We need to spread class consciousness and socialist ideas. We cannot rest idly and expect change.  

Thus, we assert, wherever we are, we need to prioritize fighting injustice. We need to remain wary of false liberal solutions that seek only to prolong the viability of capitalism. This requires unity and organisation of the exploited social classes. The more Nigeria and other African nation-states embrace prescriptions of capitalism, the more we can expect economic insecurity,  as well as ethnic and religious divisiveness.

The present challenge is to arouse the consciousness of the masses, of the exploited people. We need to convey the harms of capitalism, and the alternative of socialism. That is, our primary goal must be to teach the working people and the poor masses the connection between their material conditions and the economic system (capitalism) dictating our social and political systems. Ideological posturing is not enough here, we need organization and concrete goals.

In regards to our goal of education, we need to connect the material realities people experience to the political. We, the proletariat of Nigeria—working people, unemployed, students and youth, academics, women, traders, farmers, professionals, etc.—we must unite against this oppressive and anti-nature system. Beyond this, we must have solidarity with the other working classes of the world—workers of the world, unite! 

Unite4Action-Nigeria

Today, our environment has been destroyed from crude oil exploration. We can no longer farm or fish, and we are blocked access to the wealth capitalists “earn” from these crude oil sales that are ultimately destroying our previous ways of life. Our ecosystem in the Niger delta has been destroyed, we are dying from cancerous diseases, and the oppressive nature of this system silences us from speaking out against it. Our hope is that through Unite4Action, we can be given a platform to speak out against the harsh oppression we face. Only through solidarity with one another and fellow workers of the world, can we change this unfair system allowing the very few with extreme wealth to dictate production and distribution. While capitalism is destroying conditions all over the world, conditions are exceptionally dire in Nigeria, as we outlined at the start of this article (e.g. ecological destruction, mass hunger and disease, violent authorities forcing families from their homes, extreme poverty). In Nigeria, our goal is to spread community support for democratic socialist ideas. If you are interested in this initiative, (1) you can support Unite4Action-Nigeria by helping us purchase organizing materials, (2) if you’re in Nigeria and would like to aid with on-the-ground organizing, email contact@unite4action.org, (3) email or comment suggestions/proposals for organizing—we’re in the early stages of building Unite4Action, and we’d love to have more teams involved.

Beyond this initiative by Unite4Action-Nigeria, we’re interested in pushing for socialism in other ways. To contact us about getting involved with Unite4Action (note, we’re open to new ideas!), or to access links to other socialist organizations, see our page LINKS AND MORE, for international political parties like Socialist Resurgence. Solidarity forever, comrades!