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Socialist Democracy Aug - Sept 2005


Masses Lot Can Become Better If � - AICOM

By Emeka Bosah

Ajeromi Ifelodun Community Movement (AICOM) which came into lime-light in September 2003 is gradually becoming a household name because of the several struggles it initiated and carried out along with the residents of Ajegunle. As its motto - "In Defence of Peoples Rights" - suggests, the organisation is committed to protecting the interests and rights of the working people of the Ghetto city.

The organisation was formed in September 2003 by some socialist activists in Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government in order to fight for the reversal of the astronomical increase in refuse collection fee by the local government authorities and their contractors. The struggle between the community residents under the umbrella body of AICOM and the local government lasted for six months after which some of the contractors were forced to reduce the charge by 50% and in some cases by 40%. Although, some of the demands AICOM made were not met, some communities like the 'Nosamu, Orodu, Goriola, Abukuru and Uzo' area of the entire Ajegunle and some part of Tolu community enjoyed some reduction. The constraint suffered by the struggle was as a result of AICOM's inability to put up enough campaign in all nooks and crannies of Ajegunle due to inadequate finance and manpower to back-up the campaign.

Subsequently, AICOM conducted another struggle over NEPA's epileptic power supply, outrageous billing, non-functional transformer suffered by the 'Nosamu, Orodu and Goriola' area of Ajegunle between October 2004 and December 2004. The struggle led to a peaceful mass protest and demonstration to NEPA Festac district office on the 17th of December, 2004. Most of the complaints were subsequently rectified with an assurance to install a functional 500KVA transformer as soon as disbursement starts.

Currently, there is a campaign led by AICOM over the incessant harassment and brutality of the working class persons in Ajegunle by the police. This brutality is carried out by the 5 police stations (Ajeromi, Layeni, Pako, Tolu and Trinity stations). Besides torture, illegal detention, extortion before bail is granted, the brutality has taken a new dimension - innocent persons are arbitrarily arrested daily between the hours of 7p.m and 12 midnight and falsely imprisoned only to be released after money has been forcefully extorted from the detainee by the police. In as much as AICOM has called on the police to stop this senseless brutality, we have also called on the federal government to improve the working conditions of the rank and file policemen and women. AICOM has called for the rank and file policemen and women to get unionised so as to have a platform upon which to channel their grievances to their employer (government). However, this can not absolutely eradicate brutality since police itself is an arm of the state which is used by the ruling class to oppress, suppress and continue to exploit the working class.

In all struggles and campaigns led by AICOM, we have always made the working people to understand that in as much as they fight for immediate concessions, the ultimate goal is to fight for the collapse of the present neo-liberal policies being dictated by the capitalist system because the concessions cannot be sustained under this system.

All the struggles led by AICOM so far in Ajegunle are reflective of the growing attack on the economic conditions of the working people and peasants all over the country. So, workers and peasants should get organised politically under a revolutionary party in order to bring about a government that will be geared towards protecting the economic interest of workers and peasants, rural and urban poor, as against the present capitalist order where government only exists to protect the economic interest of the very few rich elite.



Socialist Democracy Aug - Sept 2005