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For the past four days, Nigerians have been killed in the states of Kaduna and Yobe, while the Federal Government has nothing but its usual empty assurances of addressing the matter to give. To make matters worse, President Goodluck Jonathan left the unfolding carnage in the land to lead the largest contingent of any country to the Rio +20 United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development and this height of insensitivity is being justified by the state in the most irrational manner.


It is necessary to stress that the Federal Government is incapable of guarantee the safety and security of Nigerians. General Aziza, the National Security Adviser pointed out that the Boko Haram scourge has its political roots in fractional battles within the PDP. The fact that he is still in office is a pointer to the fact that he might not be totally wrong.


The Socialist Workers League realises that there are deeper social roots of this phenomenon of terror which the group is making itself. These reside in the soils of mass poverty, economic underdevelopment and high levels of illiteracy which foster discontent and provide the group with a welcome audience amongst many disillusioned youths in the northern parts of the country.


This does not justify individual terror against working people. On the contrary, such groups have become part of the problem. On one hand, they have close ties to some of the politicians and other elite who contributed to the present pitiable social and economic state of the masses in the North. It is not only General Aziza’s statement that points at this, the guns, vehicles and other logistics they use for their nefarious activities were bought with the kind of money that did not come from the contributions of their members that are poor. On the other hand, groups such as Boko Haram present the pretext for governments to clamp down on civil liberties in the name of “security”, law and order.


However, the Federal Government cannot guarantee the security of the lives of Nigerians. In the course of the mayhem in Kaduna, Zaria and Yobe, working people safeguarded the lives of their neighbours of different faiths. They went further in a number of instances to form vigilante groups to defend their communities which encompassed Christians and Moslems, amongst others. Unfortunately, there were more of killings and reprisal killings of working people by working people on the basis of creed. This merely divides the only force which we can bring about an end to this fratricide. This is the unity of the poor who bear the main brunt of the crisis Nigeria is sucked in.


There is the need to forge greater unity of working people in the communities, within the states now racked by this painful orgy of violence. This would obviously be difficult, particularly for people who have lost loved ones or faced death in the eye due to the false consciousness of religion as a bloody tool for dividing us to rule us. The trade unions will have a fundamental role to play in this. There is no institution which has members that have bonds of solidarity across the boundaries of creed and denomination like the unions, as the primary organisations of defence of the working class.


The right of the people to arms must now be demanded. The state has obviously failed in its ability to safeguard the lives of citizens; there is every need for the working people to be armed in defence of our lives. This of course requires organisation. This is the more reason why the trade unions are crucial to addressing the crisis at hand. It is however noteworthy to point out that sooner or later, Boko Haram could be defeated as the Yusiffiya movement, which it dubs itself. But for as long as mass poverty and disillusionment continue to reign in the land, similar groups will emerge sooner or later, just as there had been groups like those of the Maitatsine in the past.


As for the spokesperson of the Federal Government, Mr Labaran Maku who defended the President’s awkward journey by saying he could govern from anywhere, he misses the point. We are aware that no President has or can solely govern Nigeria or any country for that matter. It is some cabal or cartel or section of the ruling class or the other that governs through their parties, ministers, presidents, etc. So, it is not about e-governing from Rio de Janeiro. The issue is the height of inconsiderateness displayed by Mr. President to Nigerians particularly those who lost loved ones on Sunday and Monday, to leave the land with such pain and blood flowing for Rio with the largest delegation by any country (of 116 persons), to the summit.  This goes to show the contempt in which the country’s rulers hold the people they lay claim to governing.




Baba Aye

National Chairperson

About socialistworkersbulletin

a bi-weekly publication of the Socialist Workers League, in the traditions of International Socialism. we stand for revolution from below! and our call is: workers & youths! unite & fight!


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