Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Youth Restiveness in Ajegunle and Lagos at Large!

Youth Restiveness in Ajegunle and Lagos at Large!

By Lexan Ali

There is an escalating crisis of the growing youth unrest, violent criminality, communal clashes, cult and gang wars and killings going on in Ajegunle, Agege, Lagos Island, Orile and many other communities in Lagos state. More recently, the crises between youths in Layinka and Olumoku, two neighbouring communities in Ajegunle resulting in rival killings, burning of houses have led to a mass exodus of people and relocation of businesses. This is a clear indication of how society is sinking deeper into barbarism, brought about by the failings of the capitalist arrangement

The crisis of growing restiveness among youths in Ajegunle and Lagos state is assuming new and more dangerous dimensions This is not only shown in a combination of the rise community cultism, even amongst secondary schools students, gang violence, fighting, group stealing, drug addictions and abuses and prostitution amongst these youths; but also in the fact that these activities, crisis and violence now occurs almost on a daily basis, getting more intense during periods of elections campaigns by bourgeois politicians. It has become a culture.

All of these are a reflection of the general collapse in education, high rate of unemployment and growing poverty in the country as a result of a failing system and a rotten bourgeois politics by the capitalist ruling parties and elites. It is the feeling of neglect and complete abandonment by society, particularly by the government over the years that these youths are reacting to and taking their frustration out on society.

If the 18 years rule of the ruling parties at the federal level and in Lagos state, now APC, is anything to go by, it is such that their performance falls short of providing the most basic and essential social needs of the working people, the unemployed youths, poor masses and society in general, However, it is the implementation of the neo liberal anti-poor capitalist policies of privatization, commercialization, contract system coupled with government underfunding, alongside rising poverty and want, that have given rise to this huge sense of deprivation.

A recent report put the number of out of school children in the country at 13.5 million from the previous 10.5 million, a ticking time bomb, with Lagos State having its own fair share. In Ajegunle and the Ajeromi Ifelodun local government area, public primary and secondary schools are largely in dilapidated and moribund conditions with many schools having no chairs and desk for students, having broken roofs, no library and books and hugely understaffed.

But there is also the political angle to the social and economic factors that are giving rise to this crisis. Criminal violence by these youths is not unconnected to these rivalries by bourgeois politicians over spheres of influence and who becomes the party’s candidate. Recent party primaries in the state and local government by the ruling party APC was reportedly marred by violence and killings by thugs and cultists loyal to different factional party leaders of the APC and the crisis have become more intense ever since.

The working masses and poor people in these communities must see through the deception and falsehood in these narratives of the ruling elite which tries to put the blame for these violent criminality and cult war raging among sections of the youths, on poor parental upbringing and the fault and choice of the youths involved.

Over the years issues of inadequate funding, corruption, poor wages, insufficient training, under-policing of the country and ill-equipment of the police by successive governments and the top down command structure and undemocratic approach which doesn’t give room for contributions from the rank and file and the community, have contributed in no small measure in grossly undermining the Nigerian Police, rendering them ineffective and making them lose credibility in the eyes of Nigerians.

To overcome these growing crises of rising youth violence and criminality in Ajegunle and other communities in Lagos, the working masses, concerned youths, market women and men and poor masses generally, must rid themselves of all forms of illusion in bourgeois governments, their parties and pro-capitalist democracy that benefits only a few elites at the expense of all of us and look beyond them for solution. We must not be deceived by their antics and politics which are always self- serving.

However, we need a political movement of the working masses organisations in all the affected communities not only to stand up against violence but also the anti-poor, capitalist policies of privatisation, underfunding of education and health care, etc.

We need to fight for a socialist system and for a society to meet the needs of all and not the selfish greed of a few self-serving and corrupt ruling elites as it is under the present capitalist arrangement. To achieve that working people, the poor masses, students and the youths need a party that represents their social, economic and political aspirations.

SPN stands for a massive investment in public works program to build more public schools, hospitals, roads and affordable housing etc., for the working masses as a means of gainfully engaging our teeming youths and taking them away from social vices.