Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

JONATHAN’S FAILED WAR ON TERRORISM: A United Mass Movement Of The Working Masses Is Needed

JONATHAN’S FAILED WAR ON TERRORISM: A United Mass Movement Of The Working Masses Is Needed

(By Ayo Ademiluyi)

Nothing confirms the failure of the arm-twisting tactics that the Jonathan regime is employing in its war against terrorism than the protests that greeted his recent visit to Yola, Adamawa State, one of the hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-eastern Nigeria. The visit was on the basis of a further earth-shaking attack by the Boko Haram insurgents, this time on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, one of the fresh major terrorist attacks, leaving the death toll at 85 (the Guardian, January 29,2014).

According to media reports, Jonathan’s visit to the beleaguered state, which was his first visit since assuming office, was greeted with protests by half-nude women who were opposed to the disruption of their businesses as well as attacks on their democratic rights by the soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF). The reports give a glimpse of the level of attacks on democratic rights by the Joint Task Force, which have constituted itself into an army of occupation, since the declaration of the state of emergency.


As against the calculation of the Jonathan regime in imposing state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, the military occupation has only exacerbated tensions with huge humanitarian crisis. By failing to address the fundamental basis breeding terrorism, the gross socio-economic backwardness in the country especially in the northeast, the military solution of the Jonathan regime has been rendered into shreds by contrary outcomes.

A report from the United Nations News Service dated January 24th, 2014 reported that nearly 6,000 people have fled fighting in Nigeria to the neighbouring Cameroon and Niger in the past 10 days after reporting that several people had been killed, their villages bombed and at least two villages burned to the ground. The report also states that there are now 12,428 Nigerian refugees in Cameroun, according to local Camerounian authorities, out of which 2,183 have so far been removed to a UNHCR camp at Minawo, 130 kilometres further inland. These are indices akin to a country in a war.

This tragic picture has been enlarged with blow-out of ethno-religious and sectarian killings in Plateau and Benue States. Given the contraption of ethnic nationalities in the Nigerian neo-colonial state, the local capitalist ruling elite’s inability to resolve the national question with the socio-economic backwardness that attend neo-liberal attacks continue to deepen ethno-religious tensions and killings in the absence of a decisive lead by Labour.

All this plays out at the face of wrangling within the local capitalist ruling elite as they remain divided in the struggle for power- the major means of primitive accumulation of wealth in Nigeria. As the 2015 elections approach, warring sections of the ruling class will play up ethno-religious divisions for their self-serving electoral interests. From all indications the 2015 elections will see another round of electoral violence and ethno-religious tensions with all the tragic consequences for the mass of working people and the poor.


The armed forces have also been incapable of surmounting the insurgency, despite the imposition of the state of emergency, which makes arbitrary arrest possible. Brute force by the state will not remove the roots of this insurgency, nor will the killing of its leaders, like the 2009 killing of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf while he was in police custody. The Jonathan regime in a bid to show that it wants to revamp the armed forces, ordered the sack of the service chiefs and appointed new ones. This is rarely going to change the growing weak capacity of the armed forces in tackling the insurgency. A report in London’s Economist, January 25th, 2014 confirmed that huge funds allocated to fight the insurgency rarely reach the lower ranks, who are ill-trained, poorly equipped and poorly remunerated.

Working masses in the terror-prone states must not rely on the armed forces but build democratic self-defence or vigilante committees in the neigbourhoods, communities and towns independent of JTF and government control. Labour and other civil organisations must be prepared to take urgent initiatives when necessary and seek to involve all sections of working people and the poor. Such bodies must be democratically and independently monitored by the working people and youth in the communities in order not to be subordinated by the state apparatus. This is necessary as the vigilante committees formed at the earlier periods of self defence efforts have been taken up by the forces of occupation as their civilian wing.

Without putting trust in the military apparatus, these multi-ethnic, inter-faith and mass-based self-defence committees must organise to protect their communities from raids by Boko Haram as well as the excesses of the JTF. These committees must also be the front through which mass actions can be organized by working people and the youth against attacks on democratic rights by military forces in occupation and for genuine improvement in the lives of working people and the poor. It will be necessary to rapidly form such bodies in other parts of the country should they be threatened by Boko Haram style insurgency or other ethno-religious tensions.


Very crucial is the need to appeal to the rank-and-file of the armed forces and police to stop brutal repression of the mass protests rallies of workers, students and youth and join an all-encompassing mass mobilization to end the reign of the looting elite. In this direction, rank-and-file of the armed forces and the police should build action committees to press for end to looting of police and armed forces’ pensions, for a living wage for the rank-and-file and full compensation for widows and widowers of slain rank-and-file officers and the right to belong to a trade union. The unity of workers, students, farmers, rank-and-file of the armed forces and police will not only defeat terrorism but also rally an unstoppable revolutionary mass movement for socialist change.

This also means that an independent working class political alternative is urgently needed. In this direction, the Democratic Socialist Movement has initiated, and it is pushing to register, the Socialist Party of Nigeria, which since its inception is intervening in the day-to-day struggles of workers, students, youth and masses at workplaces, schools and communities. The SPN will also contest election and seek political power on socialist program while it campaigns and works towards a mass working people party on socialist program that is formidable to lead struggle to defeat capitalism and use the resources of the society for the benefit of all and society.