JAF Commences Mass Mobilization against Hikes in Fuel Price and Electricity Tariff
DSM Calls for Meeting of Labour, JAF and pro-masses’ organizations to plan for a General Strike and Mass Protests
On September 16, the Joint Action Front (JAF) commenced the mass mobilisation of the working masses for mass action against the latest fuel price hike, electricity tariff increase and other anti-poor policies of the Buhari government. With placards and leaflets arming the masses with arguments and demands against these capitalist attacks, the protest marches were held in Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Abuja.
It was only in Lagos that the protest was disrupted by the police who also arrested the protesters. Unlike the SPN protesters who were arrested in the previous week by the same police command and arraigned before a court, the JAF protesters were promptly freed at the police station.
One of the demands of the protest was a call on the leadership of NLC and TUC to declare a general strike and mass protests in order to force Buhari government to reverse the increases.
So, it is welcome that the NLC has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to reverse the increases failing which a general strike will be declared.
The TUC, which had earlier scheduled to hold a mass protest on September 23, has cancelled it in order to align with the NLC for joint actions. We welcome the quest for a joint action, but we hold that it should not have been the basis for the cancellation of September 23 action. Rather, the September 23 TUC protest should have been held as the beginning of the joint action and the mobilization for a general strike and mass protests expected to start following the expiration of NLC’s ultimatum on September 28.
We call for a meeting of NLC and TUC together with JAF and other pro-masses’ organizations to discuss the preparation and mass mobilization for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest, as a first step.
Meanwhile, JAF has lined up some activities in continuation of its mass mobilization. These include a virtual symposium scheduled for September 23 and a physical public meeting on September 25 in Lagos. Trade union leaders have been invited to the two events as part of the speakers.
DSM members participated in all the protests held on September 16. Copies of Socialist Democracy (SD) were sold and thousands of SPN and DSM leaflets were circulated.
Below are some reports of DSM’s participation:
Police Disrupt JAF Protest in Lagos, 30 Arrested and later Freed
By Moshood Osunfurewa
Barely one week after the arrest of protesters and journalists in a protest organised by Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), over 30 protesters involved in a September 16th, 2020 protest, organized by Joint Action Front (JAF) against fuel price and electricity tariff increase, were also arrested. This shows that the Buhari led APC regime is not ready to de-escalate its repressive and oppressive response to protests against its anti-poor policies.
The protest started from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) building in Yaba, Lagos with mass distribution of sensitisation materials from JAF, Socialist party Of Nigeria (SPN) and DSM calling on the working people and the oppressed strata of the society to come together against the anti-people government of Buhari and the thieving ruling elite in general. The leaflets and the speeches by the JAF leaders were well received by the people, some of whom joined the march.
The protest was attacked by the police along Lawson Road, Ojuelegba, some meters away from where the SPN protest was previously violently disrupted by the Nigeria Police on September 10. Those arrested, including JAF leaders and DSM members, were taken to the Area C Police Command where they were promptly released. These arrests were apparently a tactic to stop the protest. It was also remarkable that the crowd were yelling at the police in protest at the arrests and demanding the respect for democratic rights.
No doubt this protest, and others held in a few other states, helped put pressure on the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who have now issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Buhari government. Copies of the Socialist Democracy, the DSM’s paper, were sold and hundreds of both SPN and DSM leaflets were circulated. About 15 members of the DSM participated in the protest.
DSM INTERVENTION IN JAF MOBILISATION ACTIVITY IN IBADAN
By Ayodeji Adigun
Members of Democratic Socialist Movement, Oyo State chapter, participated under the banner of Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, in the mass mobilisation and sensitisation activity organized by the Oyo State Chapter of Joint Action Front, JAF, on Wednesday, 16th September, 2020. The event, whose motive was to mobilise and sensitise the mass of the Nigerian working people in preparation for day or days of mass action to reject the hikes in Pump price, Electricity Tariff, VAT and all forms of neo-liberal policies like privatisation etc. kicked off around 9am in front of the University of Ibadan (UI) with solidarity songs, mass distribution of leaflets and reading of JAF national press statement by the Oyo State Coordinator Prof Ademola Aremu and its interpretation into Yoruba by Prof. Deji Omole, the immediate past chairman, ASUU-UI.
These activities were repeated in other areas like Bodija Market, Awolowo junctions and Sango/Poly Junction during the mobilisation and sensitisation rally which was later terminated at UI gate. Altogether over 50 persons representing no fewer than 7 different civil society organizations and trade unions participated in the event. The civil society organizations represented were: CEPED, DSM, CWA, ACIS-M, CDHR, CORE, AWC while the trade unions in attendance included SSANU and NATA.
Members of DSM participated in the protest march with an independent banner and leaflet of SPN. Over 1000 copies of SPN leaflets were circulated during the action while 10 copies of Socialist Democracy and 3 copies of the DSM pamphlet on crisis in oil sector were sold.
DSM Joins other organizations to Initiate Protests in Abuja
By Michael Lenin
In Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, DSM comrades joined other left groups and activists under the aegis of Nigerians Against Bad Policies to protest/picket the office of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on 14th of September. This happened after same action was done a week earlier at the Secretariat of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). The Nigerians Against Bad Policies is a newly formed broad-left platform in Abuja for the purpose of the struggle against the increases in electricity tariff and fuel price. The secretary of the local DSM branch spoke at the protest/picket, insisting that the power and oil sectors must be nationalized and placed under the democratic management of the workers.
On Wednesday, 16th of September, the DSM branch in Abuja also took part in the protest called by the Joint Action Front (JAF). We, alongside members of other groups and activists, protested at the National Assembly complex. The protest also offered us an opportunity to address the gathering and argue the need for socialist transformation of the society. We were able to sell two copies of our paper at the protest.
The following day, on Thursday, 17th of September, the Abuja branch organized paper sale/stall in Kurudu community. Leaflets of the DSM were circulated and two contacts were made.
DSM Joins JAF Protest in Osun
By Kola Ibrahim
Members of the DSM Osun State participated and led the JAF protest in Osogbo on September 16. Prior to this time, the leadership of JAF had organised three meetings to strategist on the planned protest. Several organizations, unions and media organizations were mobilised. 2,000 copies of the JAF leaflet were printed while one thousand copies of the SPN leaflet were also produced.
The protest which started around 9.30 a.m. at Freedom Park, had in attendance, members of civil society groups like Take It Back Movement, DSM, Osun Civil Society Coalition (Waheed Lawal group), CDHR, ACIS-M, Committee for Defence of People’s Rights (CDRP), and youth.
The leaflets were well received and copies of Socialist Democracy were sold.
However, a day before, there was a riot by some youths protesting the death of 3 youths alleged to be Internet fraudsters, through a motor accident. They were reportedly chased by the police, which led to the accident.
This riot, which forced the police to retreat, meant that our protest was not attacked by the police or DSS.
Also, the presence of some pro-government activists somewhat affected the quality of the product as some passers-by were heard complaining about these persons’ presence in the protest. However, the protest was successful by all accounts. 4 members of the DSM participated in the protest.