Nigerian workers revolution has begun – it must expropriate the oil companies!

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NIGERIA’S bourgeois government has pledged to the IMF and World Bank that it will push ahead and end oil fuel subsidies regardless of the opposition.

Nigeria is to remain a paradise for the capitalist world’s oil giants and the Nigerian bourgeois leadership that serves as their servants.

They enjoy the super profits, while the working class lives like paupers. The greatest poverty is in the oil-bearing regions, where there are frequent deaths from hunger, disease and other privations, including deaths as a result of fuel explosions when local people are killed trying to carry away fuel from oil pipeline leaks.

Even in feudal Saudi Arabia, and in the politically backward Gulf states, the ruling potentates have had to distribute a section of the oil wealth to raise the living standards of the mass of the population, and have had to build hospitals and schools.

But not in Nigeria. There, the results from being one of the world’s major oil producers has been super-profits for the capitalists, pay-offs for their politicians, and a refusal to build up even a Nigerian oil refining capacity. The country remains enslaved as a crude oil exporter, importing over 70% of its petrol.

Nigeria produced an average 2.2 million barrels of crude a day in December, making it the fifth-biggest source of US oil imports. At least 90% is pumped by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp, Total SA and Eni SpA in ‘joint ventures’ with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The only gain for the Nigerian people from oil has been a fuel subsidy.

However, the Nigerian ruling class has pledged itself to remain the servant of the great oil companies with its determination to proceed with the abolition of the fuel subsidy. It has declared that it will defy a nationwide general strike and that the strike will cause more harm to the people than it will to them.

Higher fuel prices will push up living costs for all Nigerians, 64% of whom live on less than $1.25 a day. Inflation was unchanged at 10.5% in November, the statistics office said on December 19.

President Goodluck Jonathan has abolished 1.2 trillion naira ($7.5 billion) of subsidies. Prices have increased from 65 naira ($0.40; £0.26) per litre to at least 140 naira in filling stations, and from 100 naira to at least 200 on the black market where many Nigerians buy their fuel.

The Nigerian working class is now determined to leap forward. Its trade unions declared yesterday: ‘After exhaustive deliberations and consultations with all sections of the populace, the NLC and TUC and their pro-working people allies are demanding that the presidency immediately reverses fuel prices to 65 naira.’

If the government fails to do so, ‘all offices, oil production centres, air and sea ports, fuel stations, markets and banks, amongst others, will be shut down from Monday January 9th,’ they said.

The whole country will support the strike action of the Nigerian working class that is fighting to liberate all Nigerians from imperialist oppression and robbery, and rule by imperialist puppets.

The strike action must be indefinite and the working class must seek to win the support of the rank and file of any armed forces that the regime seeks to use against the workers’ movement.

The working class must bring the government down and bring in a workers’ and small farmers’ government that will use Nigeria’s huge oil wealth for the benefit of the Nigerian people.

Only the working class in the oil, port, manufacturing and transport industries has the power to lead the mass of the Nigerian people in a revolution to free themselves from imperialist enslavement and to go forward to socialism.

This struggle, led by the working class, will unite all working Nigerians regardless of religious beliefs, and defeat the pogromists.

Forward with the General Strike!

Bring down the IMF’s puppet government!

Expropriate the oil companies!

Forward to a workers and small farmers government!