MSA MEMBERS JOIN PROTEST AGAINST INSECURITY IN NIGERIA
Introduction: The People’s Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M) organised a protest in nine states in Nigeria on 31st May, 2021. For the newly formed TPAP-M, a broad-left coalition, the protest was its first major action after its formation in March 2021. The protest was ostensibly against the spate of insecurity in the country, which resonated with many Nigerians at a time of unprecedented kidnappings, banditry and assassination.
The response of the government was brutish in the Federal Capital Territory, where protesters were shot at, wounded and the protest dispersed. But the protest went on unhindered across the other states, where it received wide media coverage. TPAP-M as a coalition must now intensify action and not rest on its oars; it must link with the trade unions, which have demonstrated the unbreakable strength of the working class recently in a 5-day warning strike in Kaduna state. We believe any left coalition must show its seriousness with a conscious orientation towards Nigeria’s working class that is as strong as ever. Only this way could the resistance and repression of the capitalist ruling class be broken.
Davy Fidel (Lagos)
On Monday, 31st May, 2021, civil society groups under the aegis of The People’s Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M), including the Joint Action Front (JAF), converge on the popular Ikeja Underbridge to kickoff a protest against the gruesome state of insecurity in Nigeria.
Members of the Movement for Socialist Alternative (MSA) also participated actively in the protest, where we sold the latest copies of Solidarity to passers-by and protesters alike.
About 50 participated in the protest march from Ikeja Underbridge to the State House at Alausa to register their displeasure with the pervasive insecurity in the country.
Leaders of the coalition like Achike Chude (Deputy Chairman of JAF), Sina Odugbemi and others representing different organisations spoke at important junctions to address Nigerians on what inspired the protest. Femi Falana, a popular human rights lawyer and Convener of the protest, also addressed the rally at the State house.
The police came around to stop the rally before its commencement, but couldn’t beat the resolution of protesters to embark on the protest. Instead, the police were forced to escort the protesters along the route to Alausa, where the protest terminated. Although the situation was different in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, where the police shot at protesters and stopped them from converging.
MSA members were at the rally to participate and sell the latest edition of Solidarity. We also circulated our newly-produced leaflet that examined the “22 years of Civil Rule”, which was commemorated two days earlier on 29th May. Twelve copies of the paper were sold. We also made contact with two protesters who are interested in our ideas and activities.
The rally lasted about five hours. Despite the few turnouts, the protest enjoyed significant support from motorists, passers-by, including from Police officers who came to disperse it. This reflects the rising and popular anger of the people against the capitalist regime that has made life difficult for the common people. Importantly, the call for a genuine political alternative was raised as the way out of oppression and poverty.
Dimeji Macaulay (Abuja)
Members of the MSA arrived at the Unity Fountain venue of the protest around 9:30 am. To our surprise, we met protesters running helter-skelter. We later found out that the FCT Police have dispersed the gathering with tear gas, even shooting Omoyele Sowore, an activist and former Presidential candidate, at close range.
The protester later converged on Femi Falana Chambers for a press briefing. MSA comrades participated in the press briefing. While speaking at the press briefing, Dimeji Macaulay (MSA Abuja Coordinator) said “the attack on peaceful protesters was undemocratic and an attack on the right to associate, which the Constitution guarantees as inviolable. We will not be cowed by these brutal attacks, we will continue to organise and build a movement to end the present rotten capitalist system.”
Comrade Jaiye Gaskia, the Protest coordinator in Abuja, called for an immediate investigation into the police officers that fired at peaceful protesters. He demanded the immediate arrest of those who had hands in the attacks.
Adabale Olamide (Oyo State)
The protest started in Ibadan at about 9 am, at NULGE Event Center. The protest was preceded by a press conference, which was led by Femi Aborisade, Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee in Oyo.
In his address, he condemned the state of insecurity and poverty in the country as well as the avalanche of social crises, unemployment, high rate of inflation, corruption, non-payment of workers’ salaries, amongst others. He charged the people to rise from their slumber and organise against the wicked government headed by Buhari.
Comrade Rashy, another member of the Coordinating Committee, addressed the Press in the Yoruba Language. After the addresses, the rally started with a movement to Dugbe, with speeches at every major junction. This was done in three major junctions, where people were addressed in both Yoruba and English Languages. Of course, the reception of the people was very supportive, as they bitterly lamented the current state of things, with many concluding that both the two major political parties (APC and PDP) have betrayed the hope of the common masses.
Leaflets, which addressed the issue of insecurity and socio-economic challenges facing the country, were also circulated. Aside from the comrades, no less than three persons joined us in the rally. The turn-out at the protest was low from what was expected, with the number not more than 30(Thirty) altogether.
The protest terminated at Mokola Roundabout, where the people were also addressed. A copy of SOLIDARITY was sold.
A brief review meeting was held at NULGE Event Center after the protest. It was resolved that a general meeting of the movement should be convened to iron out issues regarding the programmes of the movement.