Nigeria

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday suspended its general strike on its fourth day, after the government agreed to meet the unions on October 4-5 to discuss an increase in the minimum wage. The call for the strike had surprised the union leaders themselves, who had not expected such a massive response. Now they are doing everything to demobilise.

Like a hydra-headed monster, once again, ethnic tension has risen to near boiling point, threatening to tear Nigeria apart. This time around, it is the renewed call for secession of the South Eastern region (the Igbos) from Nigeria by the “Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)” to form the Republic of Biafra, that is haunting the nation. Similar agitation for Biafra in the late sixties eventually led to three years of civil war from 1967 to 1970, in which over two million men, women and children perished.

Ships are presently sitting outside Nigerian ports with two and half million tonnes of refined fuel but are not unloading their cargo because local buyers cannot access enough dollars to pay for the importation. Planes are not taking off from airports in Nigeria due to lack of aviation fuel. Police have been stationed at petrol stations. The country is facing the most serious crisis in its history.

Nigeria is an oil-rich country and yet periodically it faces massive fuel shortages. The inept Nigerian bourgeoisie is incapable even of building the necessary fuel refineries to provide enough fuel for the home market. The reason for this is that it is more profitable to trade in importing refined fuel than to produce it themselves! Here we provide a comment on the situation from a comrade in Nigeria.

As the third wave of global crisis of capitalism is approaching – the first and second waves being respectively the sub-prime housing and European sovereign debt crises – the so-called emerging and developing economies are entering deeper into economic, political and economic crisis. Nigeria connects to this global crisis through the mechanism of the global crude oil glut and collapsing commodity prices.

After sixteen years in power, the PDP has finally been removed by the Nigerian masses. This is a direct consequence of the mass movement that erupted in January 2012. Buhari has been elected by enthusiastic masses in the hope that he will provide real change. But his programme remains one of continuation of privatisations and sell-offs. It will not be long before the Nigerian masses realise this from their own living experience.

With the oil price below $60 per barrel and with the significant collapse of Nigeria’s oil market as a result of the US’s zero importation from Nigeria since July 2014, it is clear that the Nigerian economy is facing a serious crisis. This situation has been made even more serious by the fact that the crisis comes at a time when Nigeria’s foreign reserves stand at less than $34billion.

Boko Haram has carried out a number of suicide bomb attacks, such as the one that took place in Maiduguri in northern Nigeria earlier this week, in which 78 people were killed. Over the last four years, suicide bombings have become one of the avowed weapons of the right-wing Boko Haram insurgency campaign in Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country. Musa Atiku explains the background to all this.

As a result of the increased domestic production of shale oil, the US has slashed crude oil imports from a peak of almost 14 million barrels per day in 2006, to slightly above 7 million barrels per day. Crude oil imports from Nigeria, one of the principal sources of light crude, were also slashed from more than one million barrels per day in 2010 to zero in July 2014.This figure is unprecedented since Nigeria started exporting oil about 40years ago.

In 1998 a number of students were arrested at the University of Ilorin for organising protests against hikes in student fees. They were held in prison for over a month and this website campaigned for their release at the time. One of the students involved in that struggle was Rasheedat Adeshina, a leader of the student union. The price she paid for daring to protest was that although she passed all her exams brilliantly, her degree certificate was never released by the authorities. It has taken 14 years, but finally she has won.

The abduction by the Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram group of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in the north of the country and the way the Nigerian government has reacted to it has highlighted the truly corrupt nature of the regime. It has revealed its utter cynicism in the face of the real suffering of the masses.

The dramatic events that have unfolded in this country in the past few weeks – among them the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram – confirm more than ever the complete impotence of the inept and extremely corrupt Nigerian ruling class, and also the rottenness of the country's armed forces, in the face of the insurgency.

On February 27, 2014, the Boko Haram sect entered into a Federal Government Secondary school in Yobe and massacred over 60 harmless and innocent school children in their sleep.  It was reported that the army stationed to protect the young students walked away from the gate a few minutes before the attack took place.

The crude dismissal of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido by the Goodluck regime on February 20 shocked many. It is technically a dismissal in spite of the claim of suspension pending investigation. The overwhelming majority can clearly see that this is the price for blowing the whistle on the massive looting taking place in the oil sector and an intensification of the intra-class conflicts going on within the Nigerian ruling class.

The term revolution is probably one of the most popular terms among the Nigerian masses and youth today. Clearly, revolution is most desired by the masses in the face of undue and unbearable hardship. Even key members of the Nigerian ruling class use the term revolution intermittently to warn themselves of the inevitable consequences of their recklessness and degeneration.

This is a report from an activist of the Nigerian Marxist paper Workers’ Alternativewho visited Maiduguri twice some weeks ago and stayed there for two weeks cumulatively in collaboration with a working class activist on the ground in Maiduguri . The report gives a true insight into state of things in this hot zone in Nigeria.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on 14 May declared an indefinite state of emergency in three north-eastern states in Nigeria. In his speech he conveniently ignored the fact that he had earlier declared states of emergencies in two of these states already back in December 2011. The state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, Plateau & Niger, are yet to be called off. If the earlier declared emergency rule failed in its declared aims, what will make this one work, as the conditions remain the same?

During the past week the barbaric acts of the Nigerian Islamist organisation Boko Haram have repulsed people around the world. Barak Obama along with other western government leaders have all denounced these ‘acts of pure evil’. However these gentlemen conveniently forget their own role in creating this monster. Here we republish an article which explains the origins of Boko Haram and how it is a product of Imperialism itself.