Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/166/7872

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 July 2000

Nigerian workers' leader kidnapped

THE BEGINNING of July saw dramatic developments in the struggle for a higher minimum wage in Nigeria.(see below)

On 4 July Ayodele Akele, leader of over 40,000 striking Lagos State workers and a leading Democratic Socialist Movement member, was seized by men claiming to be from the State Security Service (SSS). However, the next day the state denied having arrested Akele, stating that his disappearance was an attempt to prolong the strike.

Eventually after 31 hours Akele was released on the outskirts of Lagos. He had been held in a house and told that he was being held to ensure that the strike would come to an end.

However the death of a striker, Adigun Popoola, the next day only reinforced the Lagos workers determination. Popoola, was killed during a mass protest outside the Lagos State Secretariat in Alausa.

Eyewitnesses and press reports described how the police attempted to stop him reaching hospital. Five workers arrested at the same time have been falsely charged with attempting to burn down the State Secretariat building.

Akele's abduction sets a dangerous precedent. This has been one of the first times in Nigeria that the seizure of an opponent of the ruling regime has not been admitted. Nigeria could now be joining the list of those countries where activists "disappear" or are dealt with by "death squads".

Since then the Lagos State Government went on a renewed offensive, singling out the Democratic Socialist Movement and its general secretary, Segun Sango, for attack.

The State government has waged a consistent propaganda campaign to try to isolate the strikers. The hypocrisy has been incredible.

The Commissioner for Information has claimed that the "union leaders are fighting for the elite" in demanding a 7,500 Naira (47) monthly minimum, yet his monthly wage is 77,000 Naira (482) plus allowances and expenses!

Clearly these officials are fighting to defend both themselves and the capitalist system they represent.

Significantly this propaganda campaign has not isolated the strikers. In fact these experiences are making more and more workers and youth attracted to the ideas of the DSM, especially its call for the creation of a working people's party and for a socialist alternative.

The text of all DSM statements, newspapers and leaflets can be obtained from the CWI at inter@dircon.co.uk

Nigeria: United workers action brings victory

FOLLOWING THE ending of military rule last year, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) launched a campaign for the 3,000 Naira monthly minimum wage to be raised to N20,000 (125). A demand which, since the end of 1997, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM - the Nigerian counterpart of the Socialist Party) has been campaigning for.

James Long

This demand was actually quite a modest amount. Last May the leader of SESCAN, the union representing senior staff in the private sector, estimated that, if UN guidelines were followed, it should be N24,000. Similarly the minimum wage of N125 set in 1981 was then worth $221, at today's Naira exchange rate $221 would mean N22,100 - an indication of how far Nigeria has been pushed back in the last 20 years.

Facing mounting pressure President Obasanjo announced, on 1 May, a rise in the minimum wage from N3,000 to N7,500 for Federal workers and N5,500 for all other workers. Despite their earlier position the NLC leaders welcomed this rise.

Notwithstanding its low level, workers in the federal states and private industry were aggrieved at not receiving N7,500. Agitation began to win parity.

On 2 June workers in Akwa Ibom began a strike to win N7,500.

This movement was overshadowed when, on 1 June, a 50% rise in fuel prices was announced, immediately provoking national protests. Within days the NLC called a general strike which lasted five days.

The national stoppage was absolutely solid. Faced with this situation the government retreated and cut back the rise to 10% for petrol and zero for kerosene, the fuel used for cooking. (The entire rise could have been rolled back but the national union leaders did not, in the words of NLC President Adams Oshiomhole, want to "humiliate" the government.)

This victory gained by united action provided a real contrast to the increasing ethnic and religious tensions and clashes which have recently characterised Nigeria. It showed in practice how the working class, despite its small size in this country of at least 120 million, could unite the mass of the population in common struggle.

The success of the fuel price strike encouraged workers to press their demands for parity with Federal employees. A key role in this was the decision of the Lagos State workforce to come out on strike on 22 June. By the beginning of July workers in 12 of Nigeria's 36 federal states were on strike.

The NLC, while giving verbal encouragement to the movement, has not been prepared to pull these struggles together nationally. Behind the scenes its leaders are anxious not to undermine President Obasanjo.

The Federal government on 4 July, then withdrew its 22 May circular which gave States the option of paying a N7,500 minimum.

Not only is co-ordinated national action necessary but also the NLC needs to act upon its long-standing policies of creating a workers' party and campaigning for its objective of socialism if it is to provide a way out of the crisis which grips Nigeria.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 14 July 2000:

We're Sick of the Greedy Bosses

Defend Council housing

Ryton Car workers set to strike

Northern Ireland: Parades crisis needs working-class solution to wider sectarian conflict

Northern Ireland: The Alternative to the annual battleground

Is Democracy Dying Out?

Nigerian workers' leader kidnapped


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 July 2000   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Nigeria:

triangleNigeria: Ruling party crumbles in historic election

triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: How socialists view terrorism

triangleUnreported Nigeria: Class struggle and inequality

Minimum wage:

triangleTaking the anti-austerity message to the chancellor's back yard

triangleMigrant cleaners win living wage at Mail

triangleSainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!

triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise

State:

triangleWorkers' protests against state repression in China and Hong Kong

triangleCatalonia: new Francoist coup - general strike now!

triangleGripping spy thriller exposes hypocrisy of Falklands/Malvinas war

Strike:

triangleUCU members vote to end pensions dispute

Socialist:

triangleLondon Socialist Party: France's 1968 'month of revolution'

International

International

18/4/18

Catalonia

Catalonia: 1m marchers demand self-determination

13/4/18

Syria

No to the bombing of Syria!

11/4/18

Poland

Poland: huge demos against right wing government's abortion ban

11/4/18

Kshama Sawant

Defend socialist councillor Kshama Sawant against lawsuits

11/4/18

Ireland

Ireland: March against misogyny and injustice

11/4/18

Hong Kong

Workers' protests against state repression in China and Hong Kong

10/4/18

Syria

No to bombing Syria

4/4/18

Gaza

Gaza - protest is not terrorism!

4/4/18

Catalonia

Catalonia: new Francoist coup - general strike now!

28/3/18

USA

USA: Huge 'march for our lives' protests

28/3/18

France

France: Pressure mounts on Macron government

28/3/18

Russia

Russia's predictable presidential election

21/3/18

Brazil

Brazil: Psol councillor Marielle Franco murdered

21/3/18

US

US school shootings: student walkouts challenge establishment

21/3/18

US

West Virginia teachers' strike victory

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999