Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Report of police interview of Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky) today

Report of Visit to AIG Zone 2 Headquarters, Osogbo today 28 May 2019

Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky), acting national chairperson of SPN, and comrade Azeez Arowosegbe (one of the sacked workers), alongside comrades of DSM and SPN from Osun and Oyo Statse, honoured the invitation of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), in charge of Zone 2 (Osun, Oyo and Ondo States), over the odious petition written by management of Sumal Foods Company.

As against the 8.00 a.m. appointment, the AIG attended to us around 1.45 p.m., more than five and half hours after. Sumal’s team was led by its Human Resource Manager, and included compromised union officers from Food, Beverage and Tobacco (FOBTOB) union. From the onset, it was obvious the police authority has been compromised by the Sumal management. In fact, before the arrival of the AIG, various background meetings were already holding between Sumal reps and police officers. In fact, there was hostility towards us, as against what transpired yesterday. Also, at the office of the AIG, comrade Abbey Trotsky, alongside comrades that accompanied him to the meeting were not allowed to sit, save for our lawyer, while officials of Sumal were given reverent treatment. The lawyer of Sumal, who gave the company’s side, portrayed Comrade Abbey Trotsky as an interloper who incited workers against the management. He also expressed the fear of the company that a new struggle is on the horizon and the basis of their petition is to behead this struggle early enough, and Comrade Abbey Trotsky is seen as central to this. Comrade Abbey Trotsky gave a vivid account of what transpired: the fact that it was the workers that invited him, based on his activist role in the state and flowing from rotten role of official in-house union leaders, who denied the casual workers. He actually intervened based on the demand of workers, who had no platform to represent them. He subsequently negotiated on behalf of workers and Sumal management, alongside Oyo State government officials who acknowledged his role in resolving the issues.

Despite all the facts stated, the police authority, including the AIG, was hell-bent in defending the Sumal management, even when it was clear its case was bad. The AIG also acknowledged that he has been bombarded with lots of protest messages. We want to use this medium to appreciate all comrades, supporters and friends who have piled pressure on the police authority.

As things stand now, the police have again invited Comrade Abbey Trotsky on Tuesday 5th June 2019. They also threatened to charge Abbey to court if necessary. This is aimed at extracting a rotten compromise from him. We see this new invitation as another attempt to wear Abbey Trotsky and the organisation out, and to get a rotten compromise from him. This, aside shows the classical relationship between the state (represented by the police) and the capitalist class (the Sumal Company) against the working people, it also shows the rotten and corrupt nature of the Nigerian Police. For instance, immediately after the meeting with the AIG, several cartons of biscuits were offloaded by police men from the vehicles that brought Sumal reps. One can only imagine how much must have exchanged hands, given the fact that the Sumal management at a point even tried to bribe Comrade Abbey Trotsky, an offer he rejected. In fact, some of casual workers’ representatives, elected to represent the workers, were bought over by the Sumal management, and are now being used as informants against Abbey Trotsky. The rotten role of the compromised FOBTOB union officials also explained in practical terms, what Leon Trotsky said about the leadership of the working people being the problem of the working people.

Given the huge financial backbone of Sumal, which rakes in billions of naira monthly and its connection to political power, we know we are against a formidable representative of the capitalist class. But we know that with support of the working people and activists, we can defeat them, and lay a basis for victory for workers against terrible working conditions. This is why we are calling for more solidarity supports. We shall roll out series of actions between now and Tuesday when Comrade Trotsky will appear again at the Police headquarters. We call for your supports.