Sunday, 7 April 2013


Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns in strong terms the ongoing arrest and detention of ordinary poor citizens of Republic of Niger and other nationalities like Senegalese, Malians etc., by the Lagos State government through the combined team of Police and Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Offences. Hundreds of these foreign nationals are locked up at various detention camps in Lagos.  Already, according Daily Trust of March 27, 2013, 57 Nigerien have been deported by the Immigration Service apparently at the instance of Lagos State Government under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Most of these Non-Nigerians are cobblers, gatemen, tailors, petty traders etc., who have been living peacefully with their neighbours. Indeed, Daily Trust reported the Lagos State Comptroller of Immigration Rasheed Odupeyin saying that no weapon was found with any of the arrested Nigerien.

This policy of mass arrest, detention and deportation of non-Nigerians, particularly, Nigerien, Malians etc., is to stereotype them as criminals and security risk to Nigerians. It also aimed at creating division between ordinary Nigerians and their fellow Non-Nigerians and thereby diverts attention from the real issues of poor governance.

The job of all serious security agents is to conduct proper investigation and prosecute anybody who engages in crime and act of terrorism and not to engage in mass arrest and detention of innocent people because they are of a particular religion or nationalities. The fact is that right-wing activities and extremist consciousness that is the basis for terrorist activities is not an exclusive feature of a particular tribe, religion or nationalities. For instance, Anders Breivik is a Norwegian Christian extremist who in July 2011 killed 77 people and injured 319. Capitalism is the root cause of all social vices including terrorism. Defeating capitalism, which is the cause of joblessness, hopelessness, poverty and misery in the midst of abundance and the working class democratic control of society is the only way of fighting terrorism and other social vices.

The attack on Nigerien and others is similar to the arrest, detention and dumping of poor beggars of Northern extraction into other states by the Lagos State Government few years back. It is the same divide and rule motive and to cut cost that will enable the thieving elements in government to have more resources to loot that was behind the sacking of over 2000 Non-Abia indigenes from the public service by the Abia State government in 2011. A sharp testimony to the futility and unjust policy of deporting non-citizens was the deportation of Ghanaians in the early 1980s under the excuse that they were taking jobs meant for Nigerians and thereby creating more economic problems. After the mass deportation, more Nigerians became jobless and the economy plummeted simply because of the anti-poor capitalist policies of privatization, cuts in public spending and other austerity measures coupled with the massive looting of public resources.

SPN strongly believes in the unity, cooperation and solidarity of working people of all countries irrespective of where they reside. To show clearly that this policy is anti-poor, the ongoing illegal arrest, detention and deportation do not affect the rich Nigeriens or other influential Non-Nigerians who are friends and allies of Nigerian political leaders.

In the same way we are demanding an end to the victimization and deportation of non-Nigerians, we call on other governments to stop similar ill treatment of Nigerians and immigrants residing in their countries. SPN is of the view that all citizens of all nations have the right to live and reside anywhere in the world provided they engage in legitimate activities and live peacefully with others.

We call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and pro-masses organizations to join in the struggle to end these victimization and unjust deportation.

Segun Sango
Protem National Chairman, SPN

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