Wednesday, 30 November 2011



The Occupy Nigeria project of citizens groups committed to cleansing our society and nation of maladministration; political and administrative ineptitude and incompetence; as well as the impunity that drives, cordones and revels in corruption and imposing hardships on ordinary Nigerians begins in ernest from tomorrow, thursday, 1st of Dec 2011.

Occupy Nigeria begins with a series of Anti- Fuel price increase protests in Ogun and Edo states tomorrow....Angry, determined and committed citizens will Occupy the Streets of Benin and Abeokuta in a very clear message to this anti people government that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: We shall not sit idle and allow you mess up our lives and destroy the future for our youths and children.
The United Action for Democracy will also be addressing a press conference tomorrow to kick off the Occupy Nigeria process.

The Occupy Nigeria process is actively supported and promoted by the We The People Campaign, an initiative of the United Action For Democracy [UAD].

If you are in any of these cities on the 1st of Dec 2011 please come out massively to join the protests and demonstrate to this regime that we not only opposed to removal of so-called subsidy and the consequent unconscionable hiking of the prices of petroleum products; We are also determined to resist and oppose it, and we shall not wait for them to increase fuel prices before we take defensive measures to protect our living conditions!

Other Nigerians prepare yourselves and organise and mobilise to take action in different cities across the country in the coming days and weeks.

We have one simple comprehensive demand: declare a state of emergency in the energy sector, develop and implement a 3 year strategic development plan for the sector, backed by legislation [A Social Contract with Nigerians], breach of which is punishable [can be an impeachable offence], and focused on the following; restore adequate domestic refining capacity sufficient to meet our domestic needs and export to the West African market; undertake an independent probe of the sector to identify economic saboteurs, and the criminals responsible for the parlous state of the refineries and siphoning/looting of public funds poured into the sector since 1999; Ensure examplary punishment to culprits as a deterrant to others; gradually reduce importation as domestic refining capacity is enhanced; and undertake all of these with fuel prices remaining at current rates over the 3 year emergency period.

Surely this should not be too difficult for any responsible government to undertake?

From Jaiye Gaskiya, National Coordinator of the United Action for Democracy (UAD).


Rather than talk to people directly, the Jonathan Government seems to have hired some Nigerian NGOs, some of them have just been created, to market the unpopular plan to increase fuel prices.

Maybe, that's Mr. President's way of creating jobs for the youth, afterall very many of them have been looking for decent jobs without success, so if they chose to have a share, even if very temporary, of the resources allocated to market an unmarketable policy we can only remind them that partaking in any way by any means in any process that will further mortgage our collective future is historically self destructive.

All those who have worked with the oppressor against the people while pretending to be with the people historically end up dumped, rejected by both sides, and eventually destroyed.

The state of the Nigerian economy and education has completely distorted the values that existed up to the early 80s when Ibrahim Babangida invaded campuses and destroyed intellectual discourse through the tactical ban on sympossia, radical campus based organisations and harrassment of radical teachers who were ''teaching what they were not paid to teach''. Even students unionism was not spared. We used to have serious Students Unions, now what exists are Students Union GOVERNMENT with the officials also having Personal Assistants, Special Assistants etc.

I was ashamed listening to one guy who claimed to have been a former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) at a programme organised by one of such NGOs yesterday in Abuja. He declared his support for ''subsidy'' removal, which is definitely his right, but painfully this former NANS President could not say anything to further convince the audience to support ''subsidy'' removal except telling us that he was with Mr. President the night before. He was as tactless as the organisers.

I wonder why government keeps making the same mistake over and over again each time there are contentious policies eliciting the anger of the citizens. The next thing they do is to hire some empty characters, throw some insulting crumbs at them and fire them unto the streets to deceive people. It has never worked and it will never work. The path of honour and self esteem is to talk to people directly. Why waste public funds on some directionless people who ordinarily should have been engaged in productive and more fulfilling jobs.

We should all be vigilant, and take more time to find out those behind events we are invited to in future.

Is it not a shame that while our government is lying to us about the impossibility of building or even repairing our refineries, neighboring ''poor'' Niger Republic successfully built a state of the art refinery which was commissioned three days ago? President Jonathan was even represented at the commissioning by a Nigerian State Governor.

We simply have a ruling class that is grossly deficient in intellect, inept in governance and crude in corruption. They lack honour and self esteem. Their quest for private accumulation of public property has befuddled their ability to even have some respect for their personal names, which obviously means nothing to them.

They are prepared to steal and steal and steal and get regularly mentioned in the news media as thieves, while they keep roaming about in siren blaring convoys. Absolutely shameless thieves.

How did we get here for God's sake?
We need to keep organising the oppressed for the revolution, which is the only solution that can rescue our country from the grips of these crass, inept, hollow, corrupt, shameless opportunists who, when added up, are just 1% of the Nigerian population.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Statement by the Nigeria Labour Congress On the Death of Odumegwu-Ojukwu

 28 November 2011

Press Statement on the Death of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu

The NLC received with shock and sadness, the news of the death of one of Nigeria’s most revered patriots, and statesmen, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu – Ojukwu who died after a protracted ailment in a London hospital on Saturday.

Although, the late Ezeigbo Gburugburu took up arms against the Federal Government and was a principal actor in the Nigerian civil war, he ranked as one of the best patriots and nationalists Nigeria ever produced. The lessons from that war had certainly strengthened the Nigerian nation and the crave of its citizenry for national cohesiveness and unity.

In ending the civil war, we must acknowledge Chief Ojukwu’s personal commitment and conviction for a better, stronger and healthier Nigeria.

Beyond the war, he was a brave, intelligent, and focused soldier and politician. He had been very active in civil politics since his return from Cote d’Ivoire where he had been on exile after the civil war, and was a strong believer in participatory politics and credible elections

We extend the condolences of all Nigerian workers to his entire family as we share in their moment of agony and  pain.

The  late Chief Odumegwu – Ojukwu lived and died fighting for a better Nigeria and therefore the consequence of his death is a collective burden. We pray that God grants  the family the fortitude to bear this national loss.

Chris Uyot
Head of Information and Public Relations. 


Only people bereft of ideas, inept in focus, and hollow in intellect will say there are no alternatives to something. In 1988, the General Ibrahim babangida government and its apologists always drumed ''No alternative to the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)''. In fact some of us, including late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Late Alao Aka-Basorun, late Tai Solarin, Femi Falana, Baba Omojola, etc, were chased out of a conference on Aternative to SAP hosted by Chief Gani Fawehinmi in his Anthony Village Chambers premises.
Today, all those who denounced SAP and provoked discussions as well as provided alternatives have long been vindicated. Late Prof. Bade Onimode, Prof. Adebayo Adedeji etc indeed researched and published a book on African African Alternative to SAP.
We are where we are today because that government and its apologists shut their ears and eyes and chosed to sing the songs as written by the Bretton Woods institutions-IMF, World Bank etc.
They have once again started. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria expectedly joined the chorus during the weekend at tghe convocation of the University of Benin. He was reported to have said Nigeria won't make progress without removing fuel subsidy.
Perhaps, records at the Central Bank may have shown to him that between 2000 and 2007, when General Olusegun Obasanjo increased fuel prices, in the same guise, 8 times more industries were established in Nigeria; more jobs were created; more electricity were generated; roads were rebuilt etc. From the records that is open and verifiable, the reverse was the case. The increases led to high cost of production, which led to several industries to either shut down or relocate to neighbouring countries. In both cases, thousands of Nigerians were thrown out of jobs. May be this represent progress for Nigeria to Mallam Sanusi.
Since 1978 when General Obasanjo made the first increase in the price of petroleum products in Nigeria, the reasons have always been the same and the various governments always promised Nigerians that the proceeds will be used to repair and establish more refineries; repair/build roads; develop better infrastructures etc. We all know better now. None of these happened till date. What we've been having as ''benefits'' are deeper collapse of everything, even in the oil industry. What has happened over the years is the total collapse of industry' In Sanusi's Economics, unemployment and collapse of industry meant progress for Nigeria. Shioooor.
we remain opposed to further impoverishment of Nigerians through an achaic, warped, mindless and fraudulent economic policy which even Mr. President himself do not understand. He couldn't explain ''his government's'' economic policy to the Nigerian Senate. Only madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's unelected Prime Minister, understand what IMF gave to her to deliver to Nigerians. the same pills that have been rejected even in the United States and Europe. Greece is yet to overcome the pains inflicted on her citizens by these pills. Britain is sinking deeper and deeper in economic crisis. Americans have taken over Wall Street despite the use of pepper spray on peaceful, and unarmed protesters by agents of a government that is loud in claiming the best democratic credentials.
The opposition of majority of Nigerians to the removal of the so called subsidy on petroleum products is total and our collective determination to move people onto the streets should government ignore this opposition is very strong.
Nigerians are not as docile as government and its agents/apologists think.
The rest of us know and feel the anger heated up by the total collapse of everything in Nigeria, and Nigerians won't die in frustration this time around. We will all harness our angers, put them together and generate the energy needed to liberate ourselves from second slavery.
The moment there is an increase in fuel prices in Nigeria, Nigerians will demonstrate this commitment through mass protests. Yes, the government wiil attack protesters, some of us will be killed; some will be arrested; but we are all dead economically, so why fear death when the government is already killing us instalmentally?
He who is down should fear no further fall. Its those on top of trees that should be afraid of falling off the tree.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Statement by the Nigeria Labour Congress on the removal of Mrs. Farida Waziri as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

25th November, 2011
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) views with grave concern the sudden removal of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The agency she headed is expected to play a critical role in sanitising the economy as well as stabilising the polity.
The method used in removing her brings forth the need to agitate for the full independence of the anti-graft agency, if it must succeed in its ultimate purpose of ridding our country of financial crimes. It is our view that the head of an agency as sensitive as EFCC should not hold office at the sole pleasure of the President for obvious reasons. This point needs no belabouring as there is ample evidence of Presidential abuse of powers in the past.
Inspite of the speculations in the media, we have reason to believe that Mrs Farida Waziri's removal from office has more to do with stepping on sensitive toes than her failure to do her job. We take particular exception to the holy posturing of the Minister of Justice who suddenly saw nothing good in the work of the agency
Financial and economic crimes have been the bane of our nation. In nearly all sectors of our national economy, there are cases of corrupt practices in high place that are yet to be dealt with.
Not too long ago, the media was awash with revelations on how public officers defrauded Nigerians of several billions of dollars meant to salvage the power sector. Much more recently there have been stunning revelations of how Nigerians were shortchanged by the high and mighty in the privatisation exercise. There have been other high-profile cases of criminality, all of which needed and still need political will to deal with instead of resorting to scapegoatism.
There is urgent need to take steps that will reassure helpless Nigerians and prospective investors that corruption is indeed a criminal offence in Nigeria. This certainly goes beyond playing politics or engaging in witch-hunt for less than honourable reasons.
Every Nigerian must begin to take the issue of corruption seriously as this has been a major obstacle to national development.
Whatever Mrs. Farida Wazir's offence is, removing her won't make the agency operate better if executive interference is allowed to continue.
Chris Uyot
Head of Information and Public Relations

Friday, 25 November 2011





To formulate an appropriate policy response to the Federal Governments announced policy to end the imported fuel subsidy in 2012.

Fiscal Policy Background

The fuel subsidy issue is part of a wider debate. The government is piloted by those wedded to neo-classical economic conservatism that believes federal government deficit reduction and budget cutting to move toward budgetary balance or surplus is the supreme virtue.  They are backed with tomes of wrong-minded economic literature.  On the other hand, the vast majority of civil society opposes the measure but does not really have the economic arguments to refute the claims of the conservatives.

It is important that this difference in perspectives not be ignored. It must be highlighted. The issue of the fuel subsidy should be used to draw a clear distinction between progressive economics and conservative ways.  The progressives must advocate the primary objective of fiscal policy is the sustainable full employment of people and resources. If that required federal deficit spending, so be it. After all, as long as the deficit is in naira, the federal government  does not have a solvency problem as it issues the currency.

Must use this issue as an important symbol to educate the people and civil society to a different stream of economic thought. This will help draw an important and real substantive distinction between the parties.

An Alternative Policy Approach .

There are two grounds that the government is using to support the removal. One is that the subsidy helps a few well-off suppliers only. The second is that it is too expensive and the government will go broke. It is not beneficial to challenge the first assertion. However, the assertion about insolvency is obviously a scare tactic that should be refuted.

If government wants to remove the subsidy in order to end the windfall to the elite, that principle cannot be challenged.  However, government should have in place plans to transfer the funds that would have been used for the subsidy into social services that help the general public.

To accomplish this “progressive social transfer” it is important that there be a fact finding to ascertain exactly how much is the subsidy and how has it been implemented.

1. Need to support open public hearing and disclosure into these major aspects of the subsidy.

2. Based on the findings, should enunciate a progressive social transfer plan which would entail the following use of the funds previously earmarked for the fuel subsidy. (because the actual figures of the subsidy are nebulous, this paper uses percentages for the below list of potential programs)

a. Increase funding allocation of the States. Since removal of the subsidy creates “savings” these should be shared with the states, particularly given the wage increase and the unsettled issue of the SWF. 20 percent of the funds should be allocated for this.

b. Establish an infrastructural fund or bank:  This could be devoted to developing heavy gauge rail systems for cargo and passenger use, port modernization and public mass transportation.   Some of the projects to be public-private but this does not have to be the preferred route. 15 percent.

c.  Create a National Water Project:  Formulate a program under the existing Ministry that endeavors to bring potable water to every community above a certain population. Alternatively or additionally, the program can also look at a national network of small scale irrigation projects and water catchments, particularly in the north, to help farmers and families.  15 percent.

d. Subsidize Minimal Health Care: Government should provide free treatment for malaria and common water-borne diseases like typhoid to the indigent. Given the climate controlled environments and home amenities of the well-off, these diseases are becoming poor people’s diseases. 15 percent.

e. Develop a School Feeding program:  Development of a school lunch program would increase school attendance, child mental and physical development as well as stimulate consumption and demand that will cause increased agricultural production.  15 percent    

 f.  Modernize Tertiary and Secondary Education:  This would help retool and refurbish secondary schools , vocational schools, polytechs, universities, etc so that we can improve our collapsing educational structures which are not preparing youth for the challenges of today’s world.  15 percent

g Tackle the Refinery problem: This is more of a political issue than a technical one.  Would recommend the establishment of a team of Nigerian and international experts to develop a plan to revive and modernize the refineries.  5 percent.

1.Mass Transit- government should fund a massive mass transit system that will involve a national rail system and road network . A  commitment and detailed plan of execution needs to be developed, funded and implemented fully.

If Nigeria could sustain the subsidy for decades, it can sustain this level of social funding for a like period.  If so, such initiatives would change the face of the country all for the better.



                                       BY COMRADE KIRI MOHAMMED
                                       ACTING PRESIDENT, NLC

Distinguished Chairperson of this initiative and fellow stakeholders let me commend you for inviting us to this forum.  The opposition of the Labour Movement to the so-called removal of oil subsidy is historical.

We have waged this struggle together with the Nigerian people since 1987.  The result is there for us to see. The arguments of the government since then have not changed.  The reasons adduced for the recent attempt to remove fuel subsidy are as usual to increase fuel prices and make more revenue for the Federal Government without recourse to the negative and traumatic social and economic consequences on the Nigerian people.

Our Position                   

The debate on the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry has been a long drawn one. In the course of this debate the Nigeria Labour Congress has remained consistent in its contributions. Mr Chairman, let me briefly review the history of this contribution.

Following the agreement reached between the Federal Government and Labour to end the general strike called in June 2000 to protest increases in the prices of petroleum products, a 34 member committee was set up to review “all aspects of petroleum products supply and distribution sector of the Nigerian economy”. At the end of the work of the committee two reports were submitted to government.

These were the Majority Report acceded to by mainly government representatives and representatives of vested interests in the oil industry and the Independent Report submitted by the representatives of labour. One of the major points of departure between the two reports was the differential appreciation and acceptance of the economy-wide effects of petroleum products price increases. We argued then and we continue to argue that because petroleum products are, first and foremost, inputs in the production process of virtually all sectors of the national economy, the impact of increases in their prices needs to be evaluated on the basis of the overall economy and not just the narrow sector of the downstream and government revenues. Unfortunately, the main consideration for the present push for subsidy withdrawal is hinged on the need to bolster government revenues at both the state and federal levels. Our position is that we need to look at existing evidence in evaluating this policy.

Mr. Chairman we are aware of the existence of only two empirical general equilibrium investigation of the impact of petroleum products’ prices on the Nigerian economy. The first, “Macroeconomic Implications of Higher Energy Prices in Nigeria” by Iwayemi A and A. Adenikinju appeared in the Pacific and Asian Journal of Energy in 1996. The more recent was a study conducted by NISER in 2000, in which model simulation was employed to investigate the differential sectoral impacts of an increase in petroleum products’ prices.

These two studies, particularly the latter, show the contractionary impact of increased petroleum products’ prices on the productive sectors of the economy. The sum total of the sectoral effects clearly demonstrates that there is an overall negative impact, at least in the short run.

These results are further corroborated by direct evidence publicly canvassed by the Manufacturers Association and other operators in the productive sectors of the national economy showing the deleterious impact of increasing energy costs for their operations. These impacts are particularly severe due to the high dependence of industry on privately generated power.

The case of Emanoye Investment Limited, reported in the Vanguard of 6 May 2004 adequately illustrates the problem. The CEO of the company was reported as lamenting the high cost of energy to his company operations, disclosing that the company had spent ₦85.5 million on energy alone in four years.

Other later surveys show that most manufacturing establishments traced their difficulties to rising energy costs which on average accounted for over 30 percent of total operating costs. The nexus between the prices of petroleum products and the energy cost of economic operators is straightforward. Given the crisis in the power sector, virtually all domestic  economic operators depend on generators for their operations. The deregulation of the prices of diesel, in our view, which has resulted in manipulated prices of the product, is largely responsible for the escalation of the costs of large businesses which has led to closures and shut downs of many manufacturing firms, with some relocating to other West African countries.

We need to realise that while diesel is the energy source of the large firms, PMS constitutes the main base of the energy requirements of the small scale firms and the huge informal sector. The image of the hair dresser with a small petrol driven generator is familiar to us all. That same image is replicated for the business centre operator, the small shop operator and so on. The proposed policy will unleash chaos in the informal economy which is today the mainstay of the poor, the vulnerable and all those who cannot find gainful employment in the formal sector. Certainly, the potential social dislocation is not worth the penchant for more money to spend by our governments. The real challenge is how to reduce the excessively high cost of governance.

As we have submitted several times before, we need to resolve on a long-term institutionalised mechanism for managing petroleum products prices in our country. As an OPEC nation, we need to use domestic pricing of petroleum products to create comparative advantage for energy utilizing sectors. Again to resort to evidence, in the published statistics for OPEC members in 2010, 8 of the 12 members had domestic prices for PMS which were significantly lower than the domestic price in Nigeria. Why can they sell products at these lower prices while we are insisting on import parity prices? They are able to do this largely because they have correctly insulated their domestic petroleum market from the global market. They refine crude for domestic use and even for export. It is a crime against the Nigerian nation and people that today, domestic products consumption continues to be almost completely import dependent.

It is worth emphasizing that a reform policy based on importation of refined products is inherently destabilizing for the domestic economy. Importation necessarily puts pressure on the exchange rate of the naira. Since the exchange rate is one of the two major determinants of the domestic price of petroleum products in an import based reform regime, a destabilizing mechanism becomes automatically a feature of the system.

Published data on the users of foreign exchange clearly shows that a substantial bulk of foreign exchange demand is for the importation of petroleum products. The pressure on the value of the naira is thus obvious.

From the above analysis, it should be obvious that the present situation of the downstream sector is not sustainable. Although claims are made by the government and the PPPRA to the effect that total deregulation has been implemented for diesel, it is clear that NNPC remains the major supplier of the product. We agree with government that the volume of resources currently being expended on subsidy is excessive. But as government itself admits much of this is due to corruption. It is the duty of government to purge the process of corruption and bring to book those involved in its perpetration.

There is need to admit that the existing reforms are not working and that a more comprehensive programme of reform needs to be agreed among all stakeholders. We recommend a reform agenda that will seek to revive domestic refining and reduce dependence on imports. It is also our contention, that domestic products pricing must not be based on import price parity so as to confer on the domestic economy a competitive advantage based on the resource in which the country is richly endowed.

In this regard, we propose as a starting point in fashioning out an enduring scheme a revisit of the recommendations of the Mantu Report, which proposed a price modulating mechanism along with a process of building up the necessary support fund. Another proposal which is likely to endure is a pamphlet written by Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife titled : The Strategy For Supply of Petroleum Product to The Domestic Market. The ideas there coincide largely with those contained in the Nigeria Labour Congress Memorandum to the Mantu Committee.

Finally Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by thanking you and your organisation for this initiative. Let us through sustained consultation and dialogue and some measure of patience fashion out a reform programme for the downstream that will endure and help to advance the course of economic growth and eradication of poverty in our nation.

Let us not do anything that could unleash social upheaval the end of which we cannot predict.

Thank you.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011



The sack of Mrs. Farida Waziri,though belated, did not come as a surprise to so many Nigerians given theslumber that had enveloped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) underher watch. It is quite unfortunate that Nigerians are beginning to get used toanti-corruption agencies becoming consumed by allegations of corruption and criminalconnivance. Nevertheless, the sack of Mrs. Waziri is hardly a proof of thecommitment of the present administration to fighting corruption to a standstill.Furthermore, beyond the sack of Mrs. Waziri, there is an acute need for theanti-corruption war to go down to the roots. At the root of financial andeconomic corruption in Nigeria is political corruption. The overwhelming amountof slush funds used in prosecuting election battles in Nigeria is not only undemocraticbut also publicly offensive. Most times, political parties and their candidatesspend more than what the law permits while prosecuting election campaigns. The2011 election was not immune to this ugly trend. Till date, no singular person orpolitical party has been brought to justice for this. The same goes for unscrupulouspoliticians who deploy the force of violence and all manner of electoralbrigandage to gain access to public office.
It is only common knowledgethat that no politically corrupt public office holder would have the sinew tomobilize the needed political will to wholeheartedly confront corruption, abstainfrom corruption and inspire those around him or her to keep away from corruptpractices and corrupt persons. This is the real bane of the anti-corruption warin Nigeria. Therefore, it is the view of ACE-NIGERIA that any serious attempt ateliminating financial and economic corruption in Nigeria must first take into cognizancethe need to stamp out political corruption.
This call becomes even morecritical given remote experiences and recent confessions by terrorists groupson their relationship with politically exposed persons and the destructive rolethat illegally acquired funds play during electioneering cycles in Nigeria. Whilewe await the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission, the challengebefore the current leadership of the EFCC, and by extension the government, isto uproot corruption at the roots by decisively dealing with politicalcorruption in Nigeria.
May God bless Nigeria

Comrade Echezona Asuzu
Deputy General Secretary
Alliance for Credible Elections(ACE-NIGERIA)

Nigeria Labour Congress Press Statement on Current Scarcity of Petroleum Products

23rd November, 2011

For more than a week now, it has been noticed in several parts of Nigeria, including Abuja that long queues of vehicles have reappeared in fuel stations due to scarcity of petroleum products in the country.

While the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has issued a statement that the country has enough supply of petroleum products, the marketers have said the importation of the product has been stopped since two months running.

Since motorists are in difficulty accessing the products at pump stations, it is obvious that NNPC officials are either lying or up to some mischieve.

What seems to be the truth is that the government has stopped importation of petroleum products, and even what is available is being sold at exorbitant prices to marketers.  We hold the NNPC responsible for the current scarcity as it is the only source of supplies to marketers.

Despite massive opposition to government’s plan to increase the price of petroleum products through the unpopular withdrawal of subsidy, the Federal Government seems determined to carry out the increases.

It is obvious, as in previous cases that the current crisis is meant to impose the withdrawal of subsidy, which majority of Nigerians, including the National Assembly are vehemently opposed to.

We restate our opposition to the withdrawal of subsidy on petroleum products because it will further impoverish Nigerians, cripple what is left of industries,
which will throw more people out of jobs and reduce the already overburdened purchasing power of majority of Nigerians.

We have repeatedly stated that this country has no business importing petroleum products if the government is committed and bold enough to clean up the system, rehabilitate existing refineries and build more. Our economy is heavily reliant on the industry and so does not deserve to be dependent on importation and   the mercy of greedy businessmen.

However, if the government goes ahead to effect increases in the pump price of these products is defiance of the popular wish of the people it may not be able to contain the mass protests that will follow.

We call on all Nigerian workers and civil society organisations sustain the ongoing mobilisation against the removal of subsidy on petroleum products.

Chris Uyot
Head of Information & Public Relations


JointAction Front (JAF)

10, Afolabi Lesi Street, Anthony-Ilupeju, Lagos
08035068524, 08033347962, E-mail:

Being the Press Conference addressed by JAF held in Lagos on November 23rd2011

Comradecompatriots in the media, the Joint Action Front (JAF) - the pro-labour civil society partner in the Labour and Civil SocietyCoalition (LASCO) welcomes you to this press conference, which is to addresstwo critical issues that are germane to the future of our country. The issuesare:

1.    The Federal Government’s Desperation to increase prices of petroleumproducts; and

2.    The forcefultake-over of PHCN facilities and its implication for constitutional rule in ourcountry.

1.     The FG’s Desperation to increase prices of petroleumproducts: We in the Joint Action Front (JAF) which, untilOctober 9th 2011 when its 2nd National DelegatesConference changed its name from Joint Action Forum, have once again deemed itnecessary to take up the challenge of organising with our Labour partner(Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress) in the Labour and CivilSociety Coalition (LASCO) to mobilise Nigerians to reject the desperation by the Government of Goodluck Jonathan to impose another round of wicked punitive increases in the pricesof petroleum products (petrol, kerosene, diesel, aviation fuel, low pour fueloil (LPFO), etc. We should recall several struggles in the past 10 years led byJAF and its labour partners in LASCO to reverse the perennial price increasesin fuel, the last of which was the STRIKE/MASSPROTEST from June 20 – 24, 2007, which Nigerians actively supported, and whichcompelled the Yar’Adua government to reverse prices fromN75 a litre for petrol, first to N70, and later to N65, which has remained thecurrent price.

1.1     FUEL SUBSIDY IS FRAUD! REJECT IT: As far as we in JAF are concerned, there is nothinglike fuel subsidy. The recycled argumentbeing canvassedby Government and its rented spoke-persons that only a cabal of profiteers benefit from thesubsidy clearly exposed it as irresponsible and anti-poor if, with all the apparatuses of power atits disposal,the Jonathan Presidency cannotdeal with the profiteers and private sharks that are looting funds in the name of subsidy,then we must protect ourselves.

Another reason theanti-poor Government of Jonathan has given is that the removal of ‘fuelsubsidy’ is to block wastage of resources. If we may ask: why has Governmentnever prosecuted anybody involved in the mismanagement of theturn-around-maintenance of the refineries? At least over $231.6 million waswasted by the Obasanjo government on this! The answer is simple. It is becausethose in Government and the so-called cabals are the same looters; so theycannot prosecute themselves for bleeding the country dry through naked looting. Instead, they want to impose price increases to make lifeunbearable to the working people and poor masses.

Indeed, the Senate Probeinto Privatization of public enterprises has exposed the policies ofPRIVATISATION and DEREGULATION as FRAUD used to strip the country of itsnational assets such as Ajaokuta, Daily Times, NITEL, Nigeria Airways, NigeriaPort Authority, etc, to pave way for corrupt enrichment of the few Government officialsand political jobbers while the majority working people languish in poverty,deprivation, joblessness, and lack of access to basic education, housing,affordable and effective transportation, healthand social welfare.Even David Mark, the Senate President admitted: “One of the sources of public debt ispublic private partnership”. “They look attractive on the surface but if facedwith challenges it becomes a debt on government” (Next, November 14, 2010).

JAF daresto ask: if the Jonathan presidency istruly sincere about saving leakages in public funds, why should it not halt thepublic private partnership that has largely benefited the private sector and not the poormasses (e.g. oil subsidy)? But we know why they will not. We are being pushedinto the belly of the imperial shark. The sharks are the IMF and the WorldBank, which the rulers of Nigeria serve. We are not surprised that everydaysome big shot from the European Union, the IMF, the World Bank, and theiragents in Nigeria, keep telling us why we must succumb to theology of fuelsubsidy. We must not allow them to succeed.

1.2     WHY NIGERIANS SHOULDNOT PAY MORE FOR FUEL? In spite ofhuge oil revenue, particularly since 1999 which has been the longest run of oilwindfall in the history of Nigeria, successive regimes (Obasanjo-YarAdua-Jonathan) have failed to build new refineries and deliberately renderedthe existing ones inefficient and under-functional. Nigeria has the notorious record ofbeing the only petroleum producing country that cannot meet the fuel demands ofits citizens.

Thoughwe have four refineries, they are so poorly maintained that their total andcombined production guarantee less than 20 percent of fuels needed for domesticconsumption. This is more disturbing given the fact that Nigeria, which is theworld’s 6th largest exporter of crude oil, produces the best brand of crudethat is the easiest to refine. With adequate and functional refineries, therewould not have been the floated gimmick of so-called huge oil subsidy, which isfraudulently paid to the importers of fuel. With functional refineries, Nigeria can provide adequatesupply of petrol, diesel, kerosene, gas, aviation fuel, low pour fuel oil (LPFOused in Manufacturing industries), etc, at cheap prices. We will also be ableto generate additional revenue through export of refined fuel products andpetrochemical derivatives.

Butwe pay more for fuel because the system of neo-liberal capitalism adopted bysuccessive regimes encourages the ruling cabals to make the country import-dependent on fuel andthereby cause the country huge losses of revenue. The priceincreases which willbe imposed any moment from now and which could be as high as N150per a litre of petrol, if we do not resolutely resist it, definitely affectthe living conditions ofthe working masses and compound our hardships. We must therefore be prepared todo everything within our capacity to REJECT it.

1.3      CAN PRIVATEINVESTORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Government has said the privateinvestors are the solution to the crisis in the oil sector, and that if theso-called oil subsidy is removed, private investors will build new refineriesand with competition, fuel prices, even if goes up initially, will soon come down. This is a blatantlie. JAF wishes toinform Nigerians that since 2002, more than 20 licenses were issued to privateinvestors to build refineries. None till date has laid even the foundation, letalone build the facilities. Why? The usual government’s arguments that private investors could notcome in because the oil industry is not deregulated – in other words, there isoil subsidy that should be removed.

The fact is that the theso-called private investors willnot invest in long-term, capital intensive projects like refineries, but ratherprefer quick and speculative businesses with super profit like importation ofoil. They are the same ruling cabals and cronies that got licenses to buildrefineries and at the same time the profiteers who import refined fuel productsand loot the so-called fuel subsidy.Nigerians must ask: why did a group ofprivate profiteers including Obasanjo’s Transcorps, Aliko Dangote and FemiOtedola under the auspices of Bluestars buy the Kaduna Refinery a few days to the end of Obasanjo regimein 2007 even when the oil industry was not deregulated? The reason was that the refinerywas sold to Bluestars at a give-away price so that with little capital theywould have made quick and super profit. But for the struggle ofLASCO on June 20 24, 2007 earlier referred to, that reversed the rotten sale of the Kaduna Refineryand other public assets,this band of looters wouldhave taken over the ownership of the 4 refineries with the singular intentionto make super profit without producing a litre of fuel.

The overwhelming majority Nigerians have painfully learnt over the yearsthat Government’s argument is not only callous, it is baseless and a blatantattack on the already impoverished Nigerian masses, what Nigerians lack and whichmust be built with urgency is a trusted, determined and highly courageousleadership and that is what JAF in alliance with the Labour Leadership hascommenced and we therefore, enjoin Nigerians to join forces with us in thestruggle for the social transformation of our country.

2.    Theforceful take-over of PHCN facilities and its implication for constitutionalrule in the country:Justlast week, precisely Monday, November 14th, 2011 the Governmentordered the forceful take-over of PHCN facilities across the country in theguise of “security cover”. What Nigerians should know is that the massive militaryoccupation of the PHCN facilities went beyond the routine security brief ofarmed personnel that have maintained security vigilance over the years onpublic properties beyond that of the PHCN.

What actuallyhappened was that the Jonathan Presidency in a fascist manner used the deployedtroops to convey foreign profiteers and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE)officials to undertake the inventory of the facilities, in view of its plot toillegally transfer these undervalued public assets to their cronies ofprofiteers, so-called private investors.

JAF deplores thisunwarranted military occupation, which has been characterized by themaltreatment of workers and security harassment of its leadership across thecountry, instead of Government implementing the payment of the 50 per centsalary increment due to the PHCN workers since June.

We demand theunconditional and immediate withdrawal of the military occupiers from the PHCNfacilities.

Equally, JAF demandsthat Government and the management of the PHCN should respect the collectiveagreements reached with the workers in the electricity sector by ensuring theimmediate implementation of the 50% salary increment as a condition for the restorationof industrial harmony in the electricity sector.

We totally rejectthe planned privatisation of PHCN. Our position on the Power Sector is that the PHCNcan be efficient if it is democratically run with the involvement of electedrepresentatives of workers and consumers in the management of electricity. Thisis the only way that the public resources invested in the sector can translateinto qualitative improvement in power generation, adequate supply andaffordability.


Nigerians must begin preparation forprotracted mass actions as the government is hell-bent on going ahead with the proposed increasesin fuel prices, and the privatisation of the electricity sector. JAF thereforecalls on Nigerians to formAction Committees in the communities,workplaces, schools, town unions, religious places and other constituencies tojoin forces with the Labour movement to RESIST and DEFEAT all anti-poor policies.

Also, Nigerians should prepare for aprotracted struggle to end these regimes of corrupt politicians and looters andreplace them with a Government of the working people and the poor who MUST usethe oil wealth and the resource endowment of the country to benefit and betterthe lives of ALL. 


1.     Reject Deregulation and Hike in Prices of Fuel

2.      REJECT AND RESIST the privatisation of theelectricity sector.

3.      DemandPublic Trial of all public and private profiteers and dealers involved in thelooting of oil subsidy, repairs of refineries as well as other corruptatrocities in the privatisation of public enterprises.

4.      Demand thatthe books of the oil industry be made OPEN to the Trade Unions and Workingpeople organizations for Public Inquisition.

5.      Insist onPublic Massive investment in the building of refineries and overhauling of thefacilities and infrastructures for haulage of fuel

6.      Struggle toEnd the Privatization and Deregulation policies.

7.      Call on NLCand TUC to disown their membership of the National Council of Privatization(NCP) and Stay out of it Now!

8.      Demand thatthe oil sector and the NNPC should be placed under public ownership andmanagement and democratic control of the working people, consumers and localexperts.

9.      Organiseand Mobilise for a Working People political party that must put in political powera Government that will end the era of looting and exploitation by the corruptcapitalist ruling cabals and ensure that the wealth of the country is judiciously applied to benefit the majorityworking population (formal and informal sectors) and the poor.


JAF Chairperson                                                                            

 JAF Secretary

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Reflections by Fidel Castro (Part Two}

Reflections by Comrade Fidel

Genocidal Cynicism

(Part Two and end)

In order to give an idea of the potential of the USSR in its efforts to maintain parity with the United States in this sphere, we only need to point out that when its disintegration occurred in 1991, in Byelorussia there were 81 nuclear warheads, in Kazakhstan 1400 and in the Ukraine approximately 5000; all these went over to the Russian Federation, the only state capable of sustaining its immense cost, in order to maintain independence.

By virtue of the START and SORT treaties on the reduction of offensive weapons signed by the two great nuclear powers, the number of these was reduced to several thousand.

In 2010, a new treaty of this kind was signed by the two powers.

Since then the greatest efforts have been dedicated to improving direction, scope and precision and to the deception of adversary defence.  Huge amounts of money have been invested in the military sphere.

Very few persons in the world, other than a handful of thinkers and scientists, notice and warn about the fact that the explosion of 100 nuclear strategic weapons would suffice to put an end to human life on the planet.  The great majority would have an end that would be as inexorable as it would be horrible, resulting from the Nuclear Winter that would be generated.

The number of countries possessing nuclear weapons at this time has gone up to eight; five of them are members of the Security Council: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China. India and Pakistan acquired the nature of countries possessing nuclear weapons in 1974 and 1998 respectively. The seven aforementioned countries acknowledge this nature.

By contrast, Israel has never acknowledged its nature as a nuclear country. Nevertheless, it is calculated that it possesses between 200 and 500 weapons of this type, without taking the hint when the world becomes concerned by the extremely serious problems that the outbreak of a war in the region producing a large part of the energy moving industry and agriculture on the planet would bring.

Thanks to possessing weapons of mass destruction, Israel has been able to play its role as the instrument of imperialism and colonialism in that Middle Eastern region.

We are not dealing with the legitimate right of the Israeli people to live and work in peace and freedom; we are dealing precisely with the rights for freedom and peace of the other peoples in the region.

While Israel was speedily creating a nuclear arsenal, in 1981 it attacked and destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. It did exactly the same thing to the Syrian reactor at Dayr az-Zawr in 2007, an occurrence of which world opinion was oddly not informed. The UN and the IAEA were perfectly well aware of that event. Such actions had the support of the United States and the Atlantic Alliance.

There is nothing odd about the fact that the most senior Israeli authorities are now proclaiming their intention of doing the same thing with Iran. That country, immensely wealthy in oil and gas, had been the victim of the conspiracies of Great Britain and the United States, whose oil companies were pillaging their resources. Their armed forces were equipped with the most modern weaponry of the US war industry.

Shah Reza Pahlevi also hoped to be supplied with nuclear weapons. Nobody was attacking his research centers. The Israeli war was waged against the Arab Muslims. Not against those in Iran, because they had become a NATO bastion that was aiming at the heart of the USSR. 

The masses in that nation, deeply religious, under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini, challenging the power of those weapons, ousted the Shah from his throne and disarmed one of the best equipped armies in the world without a shot being fired.

Due to their capacity for struggle, the number of inhabitants and the size of the country, an aggression against Iran bears no similarity with the war adventures of Israel in Iraq and Syria. A bloody war would inevitably break out.  We can have no doubts about that.

Israel has a large number of nuclear weapons and the capacity of having them reach any point in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. I am wondering: does the IAEA have the moral right to sanction and smother a country if it intends to do what Israel has done in the heart of the Middle East, for its own defence?

I really think that no country in the world should possess nuclear weapons and that energy should be put at the service of the human species. Without that spirit of cooperation, humankind marches inexorably towards its own destruction. Among the citizens of Israel themselves, a hard-working and intelligent people without a doubt, many do not agree with that absurd, irrational policy that is also taking them down the road to total destruction.

What is being said these days in the world on the economic situation?

International news agencies inform that President Barack Obama of the United States and his Chinese peer Hu Jintao presented differing trade agendas, underlining the growing tensions between the two major world economies.

Reuters states that Obama used his speech to threaten China with economic sanctions unless it starts to play according to the rules. Undoubtedly, such rules are US interests.

The news agency states that Obama is embarked on the re-election battle for next year and his Republican opposition is accusing him of not being severe enough with China.

News printed on Thursday and Friday shows the realities we are living much better.

The best informed US agency AP reports that the supreme Iranian leader warned the United States and Israel that Iran’s answer would be energetic if its arch-enemies were to launch a military attack on Iran.

The German news agency informed that China had stated that, as always, it believed dialogue and cooperation were the only way of active rapprochement to solve the problem.

Russia was also opposed to punitive measures against Iran. 

Germany rejected the military option but revealed itself to be for strong sanctions against Iran.

The United Kingdom and France advocate strong and energetic sanctions.

The Russian Federation assured that it would do everything possible to avoid a military operation against Iran and it criticized the IAEA report.

Konstantin Kosachov, head of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, stated that a military operation against Iran could bring very serious consequences and Russia would have to put all its weight into smoothing feelings over.  According to EFE, he criticized statements by the US, France and Israel about the possible use of force and that the launching of a military operation against Iran is getting closer day by day.

Edward Spannaus, editor of the US magazine EIR, stated that the attack against Iran would end up as World War III.

The US Defence Secretary himself, after a trip to Israel a few days ago, acknowledged that he was not able to get any commitment from the Israeli government on prior consultation with the US on an attack against Iran. Those are the extremes we have reached.

The US under-secretary for political and military affairs harshly revealed the empire’s sinister aims.

On Saturday, Andrew Shapiro, Under-Secretary for Political and Military Affairs of the United States stated that Israel and the United States shall embark on more important joint manoeuvres that are of greater transcendence in the history of the allies.

 At the Washington Institute for Middle Eastern Policy, Shapiro announced that more than 5,000 US and Israeli armed forces troops will take part in the manoeuvres simulating the defence of Israel’s ballistic missiles. 

He added that Israeli technology was becoming essential to improve US national security and to protect US troops.

Shapiro emphasized the support of the Obama government for Israel, in spite of comments on Friday by a senior US official who expressed his concern about Israel not warning the US before starting military action against Iranian nuclear installations.

He said that US relations with Israeli security are broader, more profound and more intense than ever before.

According to him, the US supports Israel because it is in US national interest to do so. It is the solid Israeli military force that is deterring possible aggressors and helps to promote peace and stability.

Today, on November 13, Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN, told the BBC that the possibility of military intervention in Iran was not only still on the table but that it was a real option that is growing because of Iranian conduct. 

She insisted that the US administration is reaching the conclusion that it will be necessary to end the current regime in Iran in order to prevent it from creating a nuclear arsenal. Rice acknowledged that she was convinced that the change in regime is going to be the US’ only option there.

We do not need to add a single word.

       Fidel Castro Ruz

November 13, 2011

8:17 p.m.