Poverty unites Nigerian Muslims and Christians

Wall Street connected western multi-national oil corporations have been practicing the policy of ‘divide and rule’ among Nigeria’s Muslim north (51%) and Christian south (42%) for decades. In the past, the western vultures have assassinated Muslim government leaders to bring pro-West military regime changes. Last month, Nigerian went into ethnic frenzy; killing each other and burning mosques and churches.

However, something strange happened on January 1, 2012 – when country’s Christian President Goodluck Jonathan lifted fuel subsidies as demanded by the IMF, leading to doubling of petrol prices overnight. As result mass protests began immediately, uniting both Muslim and Christian communities. On Friday, Muslims held 1 Million March Occupy Ojota  for Friday prayers.

Nigerians have viewed the fuel subsidies as their only benefit from the nation’s vast oil wealth, and many people lack any real trust in the government after years of deeply rooted corruption. Most of Nigeria’s 160 million people live on less than $2 a day.

Baba Aye, deputy national secretary of the Labor Party wrote in Indepth Africa magazine that the outbreak of anger and revolt in Nigeria cannot be attributed entirely to the removal of the oil subsidy by the government. The people are rising against decades of astounding poverty, insecurity and utter disillusionment.

We now fully know that it is the elite who play up our ethnic and religious identities as ‘differences’ to be manipulated to keep us divided and thus weak. Hunger and disillusionment know no creed or ‘tribe’. And the elite when they meet to decide our fate and fleece our social wealth do not consider themselves as Muslims, Christians, animists or atheists! But they have pitted us against ourselves, time and again. But now, the hour has come for our self-redemption through collective struggle for a better society,” wrote Baba Aye.

The capitalist system, like earlier class societies is based on the exploitation of the immense majority by an infinitesimal minority. Oppression tends to go with exploitation. The elite class has to wield state power to keep the majority who actually work to create society’s wealth, subdued. They use apparatuses such as the police, army, prisons and courts to coerce the poor. Even in Western ‘democratic’ states as we have seen in recent times, youths are tear gassed and the democratic freedoms of assembly, expression, etc, curtailed using truncheons, water canons, police dogs and guns,” Baba Aye added.

Nigerians Canadian are planning an “Occupy Downtown” protest in Toronto on Sturday.

Nigeria’s main oil union has said it will aim to shut down the country’s oil and gas production from Sunday. This will produce Libyan cenario when premiums of sweet crude rocketed to record highs due to NATO invasion of the country. Nigeria sells more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and other light hydrocarbons worth an estimated $250 million a day.

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