ON Sunday 5 June 2022, Nigerians woke up to yet another terror attack, this time a gory tale of murderous violence on the quiet town of Owo, in Ondo State. The purveyors of death and sorrow left in their trail no less than forty people dead (including children) and countless wounded. A church service of worship, praise and thanksgiving was turned into one of wailing and mourning.
The Socialist Congress of Nigeria (SCON) condemns this dastardly act and the many others too numerous to count now in the strongest possible terms. We hold the bereaved families mourning loved ones and tending the wounded, the Church and the people of Owo in our hearts and our prayers. We lay the blame for this state of terror, the blood and tears of our people on the door steps of a failed and corrupt government, its agencies, allies and collaborators.
Twenty-three years of unbroken civil rule of neo-liberal, peripheral capitalist governments run by imperialist lackeys that had continued the years of the military vultures have devastated a fragile mono product rentier economy, continually widening the gulf between an unproductive corruptly opulent bourgeoisie and the working people of Nigeria. With wrong-headed and oppressive economic, educational, health and socio-cultural development policies this government with the ones before has thrown Nigeria into deep crisis, leaving 70%+ of the people living below poverty line and many into destitution.
To keep their grip on power and maintain their hegemony, they keep dividing our people along primordial religious and ethnic lines, racking up ethnonationalist and religious antipathies. Remarkably inept and incompetent to manage the ensuing morass into which the country has sunk cabals within the government have resorted to enabling terrorist organisations to attack the country; sponsoring bandits to abduct citizens for ransom and arming ethnic militias to wantonly and mindlessly kill and maim targeted opponents of their political ambitions and corruption.
The ethno-nationalist and religious tensions have become so palpable in the land today that convincing Nigerians to believe in a united national project is a herculean task. This is the milieu into which the Owo terror attack is situated. Given the position of the governor of Ondo State on the highly contentious and emotive issue of Open Grazing and his frontline role in the emergence of Amotekun (the South West security arrangement’s response to insecurity in the land), it becomes incredibly difficult to convince the people of the South West and indeed the people of Owo, the home town of the governor, that the murderous invasion of St. Francis Catholic Church during a Sunday morning mass is not ethnically motivated. Yet the dastardly act is a repetitive pattern of terror in the whole of Nigeria, which the central government that controls the security apparatus has not been able to stem or summon the will to address.
To date, the government of Buhari has not found answers to the incessant abduction of innocent Nigerians, throwing families into mourning and sorrowing; bankrupting many more to pay ransoms. Yet politicians continue to run around preparing for national elections as if everything is in order. Members of the political class continue to meet and have discussions with bandits and terrorists; some have been fingered in open communication to be sponsors of terror. Yet there have been no judicial investigations, and none of the named has been sanctioned. Obviously, the government is directly or indirectly complicit.
While waiting for government to fulfil its part of the social contract by providing adequate security, the current existential threats also call for grassroot mobilisation and a measure of self-help. Communities should also actively mobilise at grassroots level to detect threats and repel attacks.
The Socialist Congress of Nigeria (SCON) in condemning the attacks, abductions and killings in Nigeria hereby calls on the peoples of Nigeria to also try and understand the problems of Nigeria as those created by the ruling class; to be prepared to come together, youth, students, peasants, workers, technocrats and the intelligentsia to work for a new Nigeria by organising ourselves to resist the oppression of the ruling class in the political party formations they control; but to also resist the urge to respond selectively to the violence gripping all parts of our nation, knowing that North, South, East and West, WE ARE ALL VICTIMS. We must demand that justice be done to the many who are being killed, maimed, widowed, orphaned and impoverished. We demand justice for the Owo Catholic Church and Owo people.
Comrade Omotoye Olorode, June 22, 2022.