Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

April 10 Protest must be a First Step in the Struggle to end Capitalist Mass Looting!

NLC Protest Call

April 10 Protest must be a First Step in the Struggle to end Capitalist Mass Looting!

  • Workers, Pensioners, youths and the Unemployed Must Join the Protest
  • By Peluola Adewale

    The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) welcomes the decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress to hold a protest march in Abuja and Lagos against the monumental pension fraud and to ensure justice for pensioners who, according to the NLC March 12 communiqué, are owed billions of Naira in arrears. We call on workers, youths, the unemployed and all the sections of the working people in general to massively and actively join the protest.

    The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), the party initiated and being built by DSM as a party for workers, youths and the poor, had, in the wake of the scandalous ruling of a Federal High Court that sentenced John Yakubu Yusufu a former director of the Police Pensions Board, to 2 years imprisonment with an option of N750, 000 fine, after he pleaded guilty to charges of stealing N23.3 billion from police pension fund, urged “all the working masses and working class oriented organizations like the NLC, TUC, Joint Action Front (JAF), DSM, etc. to boldly and categorically call for a day of national protest across the country against capitalist elite looting” (

    The NLC originally planned, according to the March 12 communiqué, “that on Wednesday April 10, 2013, all NLC affiliate unions and State councils across the length and breadth of the country will mobilise workers on a protest march to the Presidency and State Government houses.”

    The protest march was later modified by the NLC on March 28 at a meeting in Akure, Ondo State, to take place only in Abuja and Lagos, according to Joe Ajeiro, Deputy National President of NLC, while presiding over the Labour and Civil Society Coalition meeting at the NLC Lagos office on Tuesday April 2. This is ostensibly to have a mass effect with the concentration of the forces of workers and pensioners at two centres. But contrary to this reductionist approach the Labour has enormous capacity to organise mass protests in all the state capitals and Abuja simultaneously especially given the smoldering mass anger against stolen and unpaid pensions as well as fraudulent administration of pension in the country.

    Besides, the pension scam is a national scourge that does not endanger the future and livelihood of the federal workers and pensioners alone. For instance, about 10 top government functionaries in Oyo state were in February arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court in Ibadan for defrauding the Oyo State Local Government Pension Board of about N1.6bn (Vanguard, February 27, 2013).

    Also in Rivers State, pensioners stormed Government House, on Wednesday March 13, 2013 over unpaid pension arrears by the state government. They had started a three-day hunger strike before cutting it short after an appeal from the Secretary to the State Government who came out to meet them at Government House. (Vanguard, March 14, 2013)

    The pensioners also have demonstrated the capacity to hold an effective national action. For instance for almost a month between late December 2012 and January this year, the offices of Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) throughout the country were shut by the pensioners of the government parastatal protesting the non-payment of 72 months arrears of pensions and two-third of gratuities being owed by the government. NIPOST offices were almost on daily basis effectively picketed by the pensioners.

    On a positive note however, in order to apparently make the day of action much effective the NLC has planned to declare strike action in Lagos and Abuja on April 10. But unfortunately, almost a week after this modification, the new arrangement has not been made public. Besides, a few days to the day of action there have not been materials like posters and leaflets directed at mass mobilization of workers, pensioners and other sections of the working people for the mass protest and strike. We therefore urge the leadership of NLC as well as socialist and pro-labour organisations to come out with such materials for mass circulation at workplaces, schools, markets and communities.

    Good enough, one of the resolutions of LASCO meeting held in Lagos on April 2 is for a LASCO press conference to be held on Friday April 5 on details and demands of April 10 action. The urgent need for production of the mobilization materials was also raised at the meeting. The meeting also proposed that other issues concerning workers like N18, 000 National Minimum Wage which has not been fully implemented should be included as part of the demands of the protest. LASCO is a coalition of NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Action Front (JAF).

    The April 2 meeting was the first held by the coalition since January 2012 during the national protest and general strike against fuel price hike under the guise of petrol subsidy removal. The meeting therefore also discussed how to make LASCO a more functional body that could be regularly pro-active on issues affecting the working people as against being a mere ad-hoc platform for prosecution of a momentary action or wish, albeit radical, of labour leadership.

    JAF, which held a meeting on March 24 on modality of its planned solidarity actions on April, has also fixed another meeting for Sunday April 7 for mobilization of all its affiliates and members for the April 10 action. JAF has already issued public statement pledging its support and solidarity for the planned action and its resolve to be actively involved.

    However, as the February 14 SPN statement mentioned above states, “no matter how gigantic is the proposed mass protest, on its own, it cannot bring an end to the on-going capitalist mass looting.” Therefore, the party “proposes that the envisaged national day of protest action against looters must be tied to a perspective of chasing out the entire looting capitalist elite from power across the country and their replacement by a workers and poor peoples’ government that is committed, under working class democratic control and management, to using Nigeria’s abundant human and natural resources for development and well-being of all and not just a few thieving millionaires and billionaires as under the present unjust capitalist system.”

    The statement concludes, “to be able to accomplish this task, the SPN urge the working masses to build a genuine working class and revolutionary trade union and a political party that is truly committed to the needs and aspirations of the working masses as different from the ‘boss boy’ trade unionism or the current labour party in existence which refuses to challenge the current system.”

    The members of SPN shall actively participate at the protest march in solidarity with pensioners and workers and to call on them as well as young people to join the party and help build it as a working people political alternative.