Socialist Worker

Revolt in Nigeria continues after massacre of protesters

The government of Nigeria in west Africa sent soldiers firing live ammunition to massacre protesters in the capital, Lagos, on Tuesday night. It follows a sustained movement against police brutality. Revolt in Nigeria, a country of over 200 million people, is crucial in Africa and globally. Members of the Socialist Workers and Youth League write from Nigeria.

Issue No. 2728

Fury at the police has burst on to the streets

Fury at the police has burst on to the streets (Pic: TEMILADE ADELAJA/Reuters/PA Images)


 A historic mass movement against police brutality and to end bad governance has been sweeping across Nigeria for three weeks.

This protest movement is powered by young people.

On Tuesday the government declared a 24-hr curfew. And then, the hounds of these vagabonds in power moved in on the Lekki tollgate in Lagos.

Here thousands of people had peacefully gathered to demand an end to police brutality and bad governance.

Like the cowards they are, they first cut off all CCTV cameras and streetlights and then moved in shooting live bullets. They had no intention of just dispersing the crowd.

They blocked the two main exits and started firing into the crowd of people

Thus far, according to sources including our activists on the field of struggle, at least 15 protesters have been killed by the police and thugs acting on behalf of the “one percenters”.

These are the oppressors who benefit from the suffocating status quo. Many people have also been wounded in the attacks.

On Wednesday protesters in Lagos set ablaze multiple buildings, including banks and police stations.

Power

Across Nigeria, we have trooped out in our thousands demonstrating the power of mass action. We are fighting in the first instance the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars). This is an elite unit of the Nigerian police that is infamous for carrying out killings and torture.

We say #EndSARS because we are tired and will no longer standby watching police kill or brutalise us and our loved ones. We have made it clear with action that we will not take cosmetic changes like the government move to rename Sars as the Special Weapons and Tactics squad (Swat).

No killer policeman has been made to face justice. Not all arrested protesters have been released. And our social and economic conditions of poverty and insecurity remains the same.

The police everywhere are bodies of armed people constituted to enforce the rule of rich people’s law.

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That is why police brutality and extra-judicial killings are rampant across the world, including in more developed economies. Through struggle, we can restrain this killing machine of the elites against us.

We must deepen and expand our revolt and break the chains of exploitation and oppression which has made a living hell on Earth for us.

#EndSARS is our shorthand for an end to continued suffering from cradle to grave—unless you are the child of one of those looting the country.

We cannot access quality healthcare, without paying through our noses—that is if we have the money to pay. Our schools are in shambles. And after school, to get work is a problem, unless you come from a rich and well “connected” family.

With the #EndSARS protest movement, we are rising to seize our destiny in our hands. We are many, but we are one.

Protesting in London

Protesting in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


We are students, workers, traders, women, professionals, and unemployed. In our different ways, we have organised this massive movement for almost two weeks now.

The movement has no clearly-defined leaders. We all have a right to present our positions on the way forward. We have no illusions that youths alone can change Nigeria.

The working class wields great power, particularly with general strikes. But their national leadership continually betray the rank and file workers, which include us as working class youths.

Solidarity

We call on workers’ leaders to express their solidarity with the youth protest movement and join us at the barricades. The only explicit statements of support over the last few days have been from the two oil workers’ unions—Nupeng and Pengassan.

We salute them for upholding the traditions of standing with the popular masses.

We must establish structures at some point, in our neighbourhoods and the centres of our mass actions on the ground, to ensure accountability and defend the unfolding revolution.

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The youth have always heeded the call of the trade unions whenever it did call for and actually prosecuted a general strike.

The youths were always the most militant fighters for our collective cause at the barricades in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2012 to mention some of the most significant of the general strikes in the 21st century.

The unions cannot afford to be silent at this juncture. History is being made today.

In years to come, generations of workers will ask where the unions were at this turning point. They will ask what stand the unions took.

The world is at a major crossroads. The youths and working people all over the world are rising to fight against police brutality, economic exploitation, and all forms of injustice.

Our struggle is part of this global rebellion towards a worldwide revolution.

Working class people and youth united cannot be defeated.

Follow the Socialist Workers and Youth League at socialistworkersleague.org Send them a message of support here For a video of Nigerian socialist Baba Aye analysing the protests go here

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