OYO STATE: SHASHA VIOLENCE IS UNFORTUNATE RESULT OF FAILURE OF CAPITALIST GOVERNMENTS
SPN Condemns the killing; wanton destruction of property; calls for the reopening of the market and demands independent and democratic public probe including full compensation to all victims
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State Chapter, condemns the deadly violence, characterized with wanton killing, destruction of property and looting that broke out around Shasha, Moniya and Ojo area in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital. We demand an independent and democratic panel of inquiry that will comprise of representatives of the Shasha markets traders, Ojo and Moniya Communities; trade union organizations like the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, including professional Association like, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, for proper investigation of the cause of the violence and recommendations on how to avert future occurrence with a full compensation for the victims of the communal clash.
As far as we concerned in SPN, violent clashes and destruction of this nature which was reported to be triggered by a mere disagreement between a cobbler and cart pusher identified to be an Hausa man on Thursday 11th February, 2021 at Shasha market is often inevitable in a society where there so much anger occasioned by mass poverty, extreme inequality; lack of education, employment opportunity above all desperation to survive particularly among youths. The Shasha market and its environ like Ojo and Moniya which are the epicenter of the crisis have been the haven of jobless street urchins and desperate menial workers who always gather in their hundreds on daily basis hoping to sell their manual labour. Many young men from the north in these areas live in precarious condition. In fact, the whole Hausa community in Shasha is an overcrowded slum, with many families living from hand to mouth.
This situation is an indication that the government and the society have failed the people in these areas regardless of their ethnic affiliations. No wonder the areas have been an epicenter of various kinds of crimes like killings, kidnaping and raping of female residents before now. Also important to note is that under this kind of situation, there are high chances that a simple and slight disagreement and misunderstanding among the people can always snowball into all forms of avoidable crisis like the one that has been ravaging the areas in the last 72 hours.
While the closure of Shasha market and imposition of curfew by the Oyo state government will apparently douse tension, we at the same hold that such measures are not enough without any concrete commitment on how to address the issues of mass poverty, youths unemployment and other social and economic crisis. With the restoration of normalcy, we call for the reopening of the market.
The continuous closure of the market could render idle and jobless, many youths and poor innocents’ families who earn living from their daily activities in the market, increase the desperation for survival and vulnerability of many youths being recruited into crimes in the areas. Again, there is high possibility that the security agencies, could also to take the advantage of the imposition of the curfew and resort to indiscriminate arrest, extortion, repression and criminal profiling. This will increase the loss of confidence in the security agencies something which is responsible for the outbreak of the violent clash itself as people now take to self-help instead of reporting their little disagreement and conflict to the police for arbitration or amicable settlement.
Therefore, instead of infinite closure of Shasha market and imposition of curfew in the trouble area, SPN hereby calls for the establishment in both the market and the communities of a democratic and multi-ethnic defense committee that with a defined working relationship with the security agencies for an adequate protection and defense of the market and the communities.
Most importantly, working people and youth have to demand from both Buhari led Federal government and Seyi Makinde government of Oyo state, adequate investment of the public fund on the basic needs of the people like education, jobs, infrastructure including payment of unemployment benefits as a response to the crises of mass poverty, the youth’s unemployment ravaging Oyo State and the country.
However, to be able to do this will require governments at all levels to break away from its pro-capitalist policies like public private partnership, PPP, contract system among others which often mean that the state resources that could be used in the interest of the workers, youths and the poor are cornered by a few individuals in politics and business. But this is a task the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government is incapable of undertaking because of its pro-capitalist orientation!
It is our conviction in SPN that only a government formed by workers and poor run on the basis of socialist programme that is capable of ensuring that the resources at the disposal of the state and the country translate into a meaningful improvement in the life of the working people, therefore reduces to a significant extent the ravaging social tension across the state and country at large.
SPN also notes that ethnic and religious tension ravaging the country at this moment is a reflection of both the unresolved nationality question and the failure of the labour movement to offer the working people a way out of the enormous socio-economic problems like poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunity to education and other social services that confront them. The fact is that none of the pro-capitalist ruling elites and governments formed by them is capable of solving the nationality question. They are all culpable of using the ethnic and religious divisive antics as bargaining chips to negotiate for political power so as gain access to position to have a share of the national cake.
Therefore, it is only the labour movement that has the capacity to unite the working people across the country. This can be done by leading the entire working class in a united struggle for significant improvement in their living condition as a step towards the formation to a pan Nigeria working people political party for the enthronement of the government of workers and poor run on the basis of a socialist programme to commence the process of reconstructing the country in the interest of the working people.
This is why SPN calls on the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, stop being slumbering on this historical responsibility and begin to see the rising ethnic tensions across the country as a wakeup call and carry out its historical responsibility of uniting the entire working mass across the country towards the defeat of their common enemy which is the corrupt capitalist ruling class who are known for amassing collective wealth into their own pocket while sentencing the majority of the population into lives of penury.
Comrade Ayodeji Adigun
SPN State Secretary