Occupy Nigeria and the petrol strike

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Stickman, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Stickman Member

    Nigeria is in day 2 of the nationwide strike, with deep links to the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement and a strong rejection of global capitalism and neoliberalism. Dozens dead, hundreds already injured in various clashes and for various reasons, but this is a strike/protest built for the long haul, imo. In fact, if it comes together, it will be the biggest achievement of any Occupy movement to date and perhaps the biggest civil uprising in decades in Nigeria. Let time be the judgement of this, but I'm happy to dox as desired to show how many factors are combining to feed this nascent movement.

    First, some pics from today:
  2. Anonymous Member

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  3. Stickman Member

    Next, some context:
    Nigeria’s political leaders probably did not expect this kind of response from the populace –mass protests, a national strike starting today that shut down major cities–when they decided, on January 1, 2012, to scrap fuel subsidies (as part of “reforms” to deregulate the oil sector). The rationale was that by freeing money spent on the subsidy they could spend it on infrastructural improvements.

    The problem is Nigerians people don’t trust the government or overpaid public representatives with taxpayers’ money. That the price of fuel doubled overnight increasing transportation and energy costs and food prizes. For a week now police have faced down mostly peaceful protests culminating with a national strike organized by the country’s major trade unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC). Not even brief, though fatal, attacks by terrorist group Boko Haram (targeting Christians) could derail the protesters. (In some instances Christian protesters protected praying Muslims.)

    And in what is now a standard for political struggles on the continent, the Nigerian diaspora protested in a Western capital, this time in London. (The link provides video evidence; see also here.) Nigerian entertainers have also been forced to take a stance; like Dbanj, Don Jazzy and Banky W. Seun Kuti (he was on Al Jazeera today discussing the fuel subsidy crisis) and Dede Mabiakwu (who played in Fela’s band) joined marches. Producer Don Jazzy also came out in support of the protests. Even Chinua Achebe condemned the government. When popular Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji declared her support for the cuts, her fans tweeted their displeasure. The protests are probably the largest in any Sub-Saharan African country in a long while.
    ...Don’t think of me as a Facebook protester. I am not. I have gone past updating my status, commenting, posting notes, for the transient reason of being counted amongst a number. I feel embarrassed that you think of me as a young man seeking fame. I am wary of that word. I am wary of being ‘liked’ by a myriad of people who know nothing of my motivations, my aches, my processes. Instead I am conscious that each Facebook activity or blog post contributes to the historical statements I am making. I will not seek cheap fame. I will contribute to real change.

    Which is why I will write and write until my hand is blistered and sore. I will write of the Nigeria I am seeing, of the deconstruction of labels. Of possibilities, of equality, of a new youth. I will write of the shaming of the prodigal fathers, whose failure has been that they forget too easily, too quickly, that no injustice will outmanoeuvre human resilience, or collective will.

    And I am not alone. Look over there, right behind you, by your side, everywhere, the hashtags are ubiquitous. It will fill your head as though multimillion voices are speaking the same words, repeatedly. But I do not want those voices to choke you to death – you will see with your eyes the newness I speak about.
    I forgive easily, know this. I am not one to wish for your death, to speak without facts. I will not unfriend you on Facebook, or call for your assassination, or even call you names. How different, then, will I be from you? I am not like you, I am not. I mean it when I say I love peace. I mean it when I say I have not seen a bomb.

    The revolution has begun. I am part of it. Do not be fooled that it begins and ends with placards, strikes, Twitter hashtags. I am certainly wiser than that. Yes, I will keep hashtagging, placarding, striking, until I am convinced that I have been destereotyped. Until I am convinced that I am not a matterless blur in the narrative of my country.
  4. Stickman Member

    the cyber-revolutionaries:

    In solidarity with Occupy Nigeria, Anonymous hacktivist are joining forces with the Peoples Liberation Front of Nigeria and the Naija Cyber Hactivists of Nigeria. Anonymous promises “a relentless and devastating assault upon the web assets of the Nigerian government” in support of Occupy Nigeria.

    In a message released Tuesday, the international Internet hacktivist collective known as Anonymous announced their active support for Occupy Nigeria.

    On New Year’s day the Nigerian Government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, removed a fuel subsidy that the majority of impoverished Nigerians depend upon for their very existence. As a consequence of the action the price of fuel and transportation has skyrocketed, causing extreme hardship upon the majority of Nigerians. The impact has been devastating. Many of those Nigerians lucky enough to have a job can no longer afford to commute back and forth to work.

    In response to the draconian cut in fuel subsidies, Nigerians have begun to rise up in protest under the banner of the Occupy Movement. Nigerians are taking to the streets in great numbers. Protests against the government of Goodluck Jonathan and the powerful PDP ruling party are happening all over Nigeria.

    On Thursday, Nigeria’s powerful trade unions called for a general strikeuntil the fuel subsidies are restored.
    The following is an excerpt from the Anonymous press release:

    Greetings world.

    Anonymous has heard the cry of the downtrodden and freedom seeking people of Nigeria. The recent cutting of the fuel subsidies by the Goodluck regime is the last straw. The fuel subsidies were the last way in which the people could in anyway share in the staggering wealth generated by the Big Oil companies. Nigeria is one of the largest producers of crude oil, and yet the Nigerian people have neither electricity nor affordable fuel - and live in grinding poverty.

    And so beginning tomorrow the great and noble people of Nigeria will take their place in the Transnational Global Cyber Insurgency and rise up in what many there are calling "Occupy Nigeria". Their goal is no different than the rest of the Occupy Movement, to remove the regime of greed and restore economic justice to the people.

    Anonymous has joined together with our brothers and sisters in the Peoples Liberation Front and the Naija Cyber Hactivists of Nigeria, and we will defend and support the Occupy Nigeria protests with all of our ample resources. Anonymous and our allies will attack the interwebz of the Nigerian government. And we will continue a relentless and devastating assault upon the web assets of the Nigerian government until all the demands of the protesters there are met.

    We Are Anonymous - We Are Everywhere - We Are Legion - We Never Forget - We Never Forgive
    President Goodluck Jonathan........EXPECT US !
  5. Anonymous Member

  6. Stickman Member

    I'll wrap-up with my take on some of the forces coinciding at this critical moment in Nigeria's history. Here's my reasoning on why civil unrest may widely occur there:

    * Boko Haram has all Nigeria on edge and the fanatical Muslim/Christian split continues to threaten to divide the nation w/o any other exacerbating factors. Fanatics are walking into mosques and churches and just randomly killing worshipers with alarming regularity now. The US is playing an expanded role in this new "al-Qaeda" front;

    * The Arab Spring (which was mainly African) has had a major impact on both Nigeria's educated and uneducated citizens and their views on their govt. Tunisia and Egypt were about bread, petrol is the equivalent commodity symbolizing why the average Nigeria family is struggling to survive. This is a 99% protest with strong union support;

    * Jonathan implemented (as VP under Yar'Adua, then continued as President) the amnesty program for the MEND rebels in the Niger Delta. As the first ever Nigerian leader from the Delta, the rebel leaders (that turned violent after the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa) in the Ijaw, Itiskeri, Urhobo, and other areas gave Jonathan the peace he asked for and largely laid down their arms. They also gave Jonathan a deadline on resolving the Delta oil, gas and JTF (federal military joint task force) issues and that time is up, with little resolved. These militants are a ticking time bomb to the south, as Boko Haram roils the north;

    * Nigeria = Oil & Gas. The failed Petroleum Industry Bill was set up in part to give Delta communities receiving the brunt of oil & gas production a fairer share of oil revenues. Instead, staggeringly corrupt oil minister Alison-Madueke delivered a bill so changed from the previous version and so rife with avenues for theft that Delta communities were outraged and killed it. When this bill failed at the last legislative session, minister DA-M (a former Shell employee), started spinning off the segments she wanted to privatize. This was the impetus for the current doubling of petrol prices (marketed as a removal of petrol subsidies by the govt);

    * The military JTF are stone cold killers. Read some A.I. or HRW reports about their initial forays confronting Boko Haram or their covert massacre at Delta State's Gbaramatu Kingdom in 2009 to see how the JTF shoots (or rapes) first, then gets around to investigating the supposed crimes later. I pray it isn't so, but I expect between the police and JTF, there will be many more Occupy Nigeria martyrs. The more martyrs in more regions, the more widespread protests become, the more the military overreacts, ...;

    * COP 17 was the final straw for many African community activists, as they rejected the neo-liberal, old Left incrementalism on carbon pollution and saw only the Occupy movement speaking to their concerns. Durban was a major failure to most Africans. This battle will be fought both on the twittersphere and in the roads, much like OWS. Anons will make a difference in this fight, if they so choose.
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  7. Anonymous Member

    Same as it ever was.

    Love how the price of fuel can leap from 65 nairas to 145 in a country that is most polluted by the oil industry.

    In some places spills the size of the Gulf rupture last year happen EVERY WEEK.

    I hope the people of Nigeria seize the platforms for themselves. Screw the oil companies.

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  8. Anonymous Member

    Occupy Wall Street Movement In Solidarity March On Nigeria House Wednesday

    Posted: January 11, 2012 - 04:19
    By SaharaReporters, New York
    Following Tuesday’s successful picketing of Nigeria House in New York by Nigerians and their friends, Occupy Wall Street will make a solidarity march to the same premises tomorrow, January 11.

    In a statement today, Occupy Wall Street explained that the date is the 10 year anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay Prison. “This day is a somber recognition of previous repressive state measures that violate not only people on individual levels, but our international agreements on Universal Human Rights,” it said. “We will be protesting in solidarity with others all over the world.”

It said its action at the Consulate-General of Nigeria will be in recognition of the mass protest that the Nigerian people have been undertaking since the government cut oil subsidies for citizens on New Year’s Day. It noted that in response, Occupy Nigeria on Tuesday blocked the shipping routes and shut down petrol stations.

    “Though it was a peaceful protest, the state attacked the protesters with Tear gas and gunfire, killing 23 year old Mustapha Opobiyi,” the group said. It noted that Opobiyi’s killing mirrors the systemic state violence witnessed world-wide over the past year since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Occupy Wall Street said, “As we know in the United States, repression is on the rise. Between the continued use of inhumane prisons like Guantanamo Bay and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012, people in the US are becoming more and more aware of the injustices of this globalized corporate system. We stand in solidarity with the Nigerian people and all victims of this system. We also see the inconsistency of the US government's support of pro-democracy movements when it is actively derailing the very democracy it claims to protect.


The group’s program for Wednesday is as follows:
    3pm-4pm leafleting at 43rd St and 7th Ave
4pm March to the Nigerian Consulate at 44th St and 2nd Ave
    5pm Rally at the Nigerian Consulate
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  9. Stickman Member

    I'd be remiss not to post this, Nigerians tend to put great stock in these declarations and you'll see a number of other Niger Delta declarations referenced as well.


    (The following declarations were adopted at the General Assembly of the Occupy Port Harcourt Movement held on 16th day of January 2012)
    (from Sahara Reporters)

    We, Occupy Port Harcourt (Oil City, Niger Delta) make this declaration to:

    • the aroused poor masses of Nigeria- south, north, west and east – who have decided that the Nigerian ruining/ruling class and its allies in International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank cannot continue to ruin them the way they used to do;

    • the masses organised in Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), for their historic total strikes, rallies and occupation;

    • the citizens' organisations (civil society organizations) and activists for their marches, rallies and occupations nationwide and;

    • Nigerians in diaspora and other world citizens, especially World Occupy Movement, who have demonstrated solidarity to the Nigerian poor masses at Nigerian embassy locations and elsewhere.
    This declaration is our immediate response to the policy of divide-and-rule, name-calling-and-criminalisation, atomising-and-weakening, as well as, isolating-and-obliterating, by the ruining Nigerian ruling class, which is dangerously playing out now in Port Harcourt, in particular and the south-south geopolitical zone in general. We are very clear that this divisive policy of the Nigerian ruling class is a direct response to the open intervention of the exploited, oppressed and marginalized masses, in the arena of Nigerian politics. No doubt, the Nigerian over-fattened exploiter class, which constitute one-percent of the Nigerian population, is threatened by the festival of the oppressed Ninety-nine per cent!

    We recall that the current situation started with what we will call a national debate on what was then a current fuel price regime in 2011. Having realised that it has lost the debate, the ruling class, coalesced around the current ruling fraction in Abuja, ambushed the masses by increasing the price of fuel by over 120% on the 2012 new year day, as against the publicly declared promise that it will not effect any changes until April 1, 2012, when the 2012 national budget will become operative. The Nigerian masses responded on this assault on their survival by open intervention in the arena of politics through strikes, street marches, rallies and occupations. The ruining class responded by renting groups of crowd, hiring spin-doctors and voodoo economists, and spreading fear of Armageddon. The ground swell of the festival of the oppressed emboldened the masses, swallowed and blunted the voice of their rented crowds, demystified their voodoo economists, and spun their spin-doctors into stupor. In response to these and as a last ditch position, the ruining class has now sent out its foot soldiers, shock troops and agent provocateurs. Some of these agent provocateurs were seen on Port Harcourt streets effective from Friday, January 13, 2012.

    We hereby respond to the invasion of the Oil City (Port Harcourt) by the foot soldiers/shock troops of the Nigerian exploiters and the threatening of the Oil Workers, especially Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigerian (PENGASSAN) members and citizens' organisations and activists in a manner designed to provoke violence. We note that they arrived from Abuja in their customised T-shirts and Face-caps and took over some Port Harcourt Streets `spitting fire and brimstone'. While we recognise individual and group rights to dissent, we abhor issuing of threats and ethnic jingoism in defence of a ruining / ruling class, coalesced around the current ruling fraction in Abuja.

    While the Nigerian masses are ruined, we say the poor masses of the minority ethnic groups, especially of the Niger Delta areas, are doubly ruined; first as members of an exploited strata and secondly as members of a marginalised ethnic group. Our allegiance as partisans of the poor masses and the doubly ruined masses of the Niger Delta (Oron, Ijaw, Ikwerre, Urhobo, Ogoni, Ogba, etc, etc) is to the poor masses, this is particularly true when we are fighting a common cause. This is because we are fighting for the same destiny which is freedom from penury and ruin. Also, because we are being ruined by an unholy alliance of exploiters from different ethnic groups, including fractions from our minority ethnic groups in the Niger Delta.

    The allegiance/loyalty of the doubly ruined poor masses of the Niger Delta should never be to a ruining / ruling class, coalesced around the current ruling fraction in Abuja, even if members of that fraction are from our minority ethnic groups. This truth runs through our peoples' declarations and Bill of Rights: the Ogoni Bill of Rights, the Kaiama declaration of Ijaw people, the Oron Bill of Rights, the Ikwerre Rescue Charter of demands, the Aklaka Declaration of Egi, the first Urhobo economic summit report, etc. Specifically, we take pride in the Kaiama Declaration which in part proclaimed that the Ijaw People offer a hand of friendship and comradeship to their neighbors and will promote the principle of peaceful coexistence with them. Also, the declaration extends it hands of solidarity to the Nigerian oil workers, as well as, solidarity with all peoples' organisations in Nigeria.


    We declare that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the aroused poor masses in other parts of Nigeria;

    We pay tributes to the commendable examples of Occupy Kano for its resilience, to Occupy Lagos for its Massiveness, and to Occupy Abuja for its daringness;

    We pay glowing tributes to the martyrs of the masses in Ilorin, Kano, Lagos and elsewhere in the country.

    We are excited by the Nigerian citizens organised in NLC and TUC for this historic workers unity and strikes, which has surpassed any workers action in the history of Nigeria; we note that Niger Delta citizens – Urhobo, Ijaw, Ogoni, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Ogba, etc, etc, - that are members of NLC and TUC are participating massively in the workers' actions;

    We are proud of the patriotic roles our sons and daughters (from the Niger Delta) are playing in the current festival of the oppressed, in the NLC, TUC and in citizens' organizations. In this instance, this patriotic role is epitomized by the pro-masses voices like comrade Owei Lakemfa, Professor Kimse Okoko, Professor J P Clark, Professor Tam David-West, etc, etc.

    That the ruining class has unleashed its foot soldiers/shock troops on the oil city, with a script to issue threats, provoke and to make ethnic divisive proclamations, is a pointer that the ruining class is ready to dive to the pit of hell to unleash barbarism in order to maintain the status quo that is being challenged by the poor masses. As we take in the developing events, we can't but ask, are these opening moments of fascism in Nigeria?

    Therefore, while the reversal of fuel price hike to N65/litre and zero tolerance to corruption remain our twin indicator demand, we call on the aroused masses of Nigeria to continue to strengthen their resolve and begin to broaden and deepen their demands. Towards this end, we make the following demands:

    1. That Abuja should immediately withdraw all its foot soldiers/shock troops that invaded parts of the Niger Delta (particularly Port Harcourt) effective Friday 13, January 2012 and started threatening violence. At this juncture, it should be noted that we are currently carrying out documentation of these threats and should in case mayhem is unleashed on striking workers and peaceful protesters, we shall take the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crime against humanity

    2. Immediately embark on a 3 three-year strategic plan to overhaul the energy sector. Ensure adequate domestic refining capacity during this period, gradually reduce the importation of refined products as domestic refining. capacity will increase, maintain petroleum products prices at current rate (N65/ltr) over the three year period, back the three year intervention plan with viable legislation , punishment for breach and plug all leakages, loopholes and wastages in resource generation, allocation (with particular focus on 2012 budget proposals) and distribution. Certainly this should not be too difficult for any resourceful government to undertake.

    3. Independent audit of the books of the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission NNPC by an all inclusive audit team made up of government, labour and Civil Society inputs.

    4. That Abuja should implement the Academic Staff Union of Universities /Federal Government (ASUU/FG) agreement of 2009 to prevent further damage to the already battered educational sector in Nigeria.

    5. That governments at all levels should implement without delay the provisions of the minimum wage act of 2011.

    6. That those involved in the killing of peaceful protesters in Ilorin, Kano, Lagos and elsewhere in the country, must be fished out and procecuted.

    We urge all the striking, rallying, occupying forces of Nigerian masses to organize and mobilize into a United Action for true Democracy and New Nigeria, where class oppression, ethnic marginalisation and gender discrimination will be eradicated on a permanent basis; and where socio-economic justice, unity and sustainable peace will reign supreme. Note that our historically tested tactics remain: strikes, rallies and occupations, and other peaceful forms of resistance to unjust government policies, laws and programmes.

    We are forwarding this proclamation to the UN secretary General and all branches of Occupy Nigeria, home and abroad, NLC, TUC, JAF, UAD, World Occupy Movement, local and international human rights organizations, etc.

    Issued this 16th day of January 2012
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  10. Stickman Member

    #OccupyNigeria Will Not Die, It Will Rise Again

    Posted: January 23, 2012 - 02:22
    Byy @muhammadsageer
    Wise people have always drawn stories from street life. Once upon a time, it was said that a man leaving his house one day found a snail in its shell on his doorstep. Picking it up, he chucked it against the front wall. One year later the snail reappeared in the same spot. When the man saw it there, he knelt down and asked the snail, 'What’s your problem?’

    What the man did not understand is that the snail could not die because it was protected by its shell. The moral from this tale is that the day of the little ones (or the weak) will come and it will grow in impact, and the big one will have to bow down and listen to its demands. The true value of this piece of ancient wisdom however, so far remains concealed from our vision, because the #occupyNigeria has not achieved a single one of its demands. On the contrary, the NLC/TUC has thrown it against the wall after hijacking it, and has succeeded in betraying the peaceful protest it never started.

    However, what the government does not understand is that the creators and defenders of #occupyNigeria are not the NLC/TUC they succeeded in silencing, who they thought would help in snuffing out #occupyNigeria peaceful protest in exchange for money or position in the government. Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, they are not the ones who started the #occupyNigeria peaceful protest. What proves that the NLC/TUC struck a deal with the government is the appointment of Peter Esele as a member in the PIB task force.
    The purpose of this article is to say that the real #occupyNigeria peaceful protesters are going to come out for more protest because the revolution has not died. watch out for the return of the snail in its original shell, without the parasites that stuck to it along its journey. By parasites I mean the NLC/TUC.

    Why will the snail return?

    It will return because the #occupyNigeria rose up for the sake of life, freedom, and social justice. None of these has been achieved: the so called cabals are still there living like kings with stolen money; the president does not want to cut the waste in his government; cost living is high and the price bread has been increased; cost of transportation has fared. Citizens have not been given the right to protest and oppose the rules that govern them, a right that has been banned by dispatching military men all over the street. Obviously there is no justice, the likes of Muyideen Mustapha died for nothing. The bizarre thing is that the murderers of Muyideen Mustapha and Co are still free like a bird in a tree.The whole Nigerian people now hates this government.
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