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Count Us Out of Cash-For-Protest In Rivers

Count Us Out of Cash-For-Protest In Rivers, Say CLO, UAD, Others

A COALITION of civil society groups in Rivers State, Southern Nigeria, has dissociated themselves from the worrisome ''cash-for-protest'' marches that have been taking place in the state since the Rivers conflict between Abuja and Port Harcourt broke out.

The groups among them, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Oilwatch Africa, United Action for Democracy (UAD), Social Action declared that they, and numerous other organisations are not part of a planned protest which they claimed, has been planned in support of certain elements and fractions of the ruling class in the state.

In an online statement to AkanimoReports on Sunday, dissociating groups said, ''our allegiance and partisanship is for the assaulted, violated and oppressed Nigerian toiling masses''.

According to them, ''we are aware of the crisis within the ruling class in Rivers State and their counterpart at Abuja and the assaults of the said crisis on our collective sensibilities. Also, we are aware of a plan by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to hold protest in Port Harcourt in the name of Niger Delta Civil Society Organizations in support of the embattled ruling class member against his erstwhile colleagues and co-conspirators in Abuja. The said protest has been scheduled to hold on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

''The planned protest is part of their efforts towards defending a ruling class member as he faces his fellow oppressors in his on-going political conflict with his fellow ruling class members. It is important to clarify that the political actors fighting among themselves, no matter the camp they belong, have never had the interest of the toiling masses at heart. They oppress the masses whenever they deem it profitable for their class interest and fight themselves when their fractional interest clashes.

''Furthermore, our living experience indicates that, for long, our citizens’ organizations have been susceptible to the vices of this rampaging ruling class; the political landscape is littered with many of these organizations that have been raped by these Vagabonds-in-Power (VIPs). Indeed, not a few of these citizens organization, have been driven to destructive armed insurgencies by members of the Nigerian ruling class. The Nigerian ruling class now compete among themselves using fascist stomp troopers and armed insurgents. We must not place our citizens’ organizations anywhere near the vice-grip of this mindless, all-parasitic ruling class.

''Now then, we strongly feel that this is the time, the critical moment for any activist or citizens’ organization that is worth its onions to route for the toiling masses, to start speaking for the embattled masses, to start interrogating the very society that can throw up such ignoble charlatans and miscreants that we are now witnessing. This is not the time to defend one oppressor against the other, rather this is the critical period to energize our mobilization efforts to encourage the poor masses to break the absolute fetter, on life and living, that this suffocating social system called Nigeria, has become. Our volunteered time and energy should be in the service of Nigerian toiling masses not in defending any member of the ruling class, whether within or outside the ruling party.

''Aso Rock and Brick House are fractions of a rotten whole. They have both participated, in an ongoing basis, in oppressing and dehumanizing the masses. For instance, during the petrol price uprising, they all worked together, not only to justify the oppressive policy, but actually worked together to frustrate our efforts to challenge the evil policy. The governor used labour to frustrate the protest in Port Harcourt, while the presidency unleashed fascistic stomp troopers on peaceful protesters on Port Harcourt streets.

''The Amaechi’s administration presided over the demolition of communities, such as Njemanze, Abonnemma wharf road and Zor-sogho in khana LGA of Rivers State, while the presidency has presided over the demolition of poor people’s houses and communitities in Abuja. To show how heartless the Nigerian ruling class is, the ACN governor of Lagos State visited the same barbarism on a section of poor masses of Lagos State. Recently, the Academic Staff Union Universities, ASUU chairman and some of the members of the Rivers state University of Science and Technology, RSUST chapter of the union have been subjected to all manner of intimidations, victimization, police brutalities and all forms of degrading treatments, just because they tried to resist the imposition of a Vice Chancellor on the school without following due process. ASUU chairman, Dr Felix Igwe, was even kidnapped at gun point and later dumped along Airport road, Igwuruta just because they gathered to hold a meeting of the Union. Governor Amaechi has stifled academic freedom in UST, Port Harcourt. Presently, ASUU at the national level is on strike because of the insensitivities of the Presidency. No doubt our ruling class abhors education''.

Continuing, they said the choice before the Nigerian masses ''is not located within one fraction or the other of the Nigerian ruling class both within and outside the ruling party.  Currently, the choice before them is between barbarism, represented by the ruling class and social progress, which can only be achieved when the present suffocating system, foisted on us by the decadent ruling class is liquidated.  Let’s support the masses, let’s work with them on this historical task.

''Sequel to all of the above, we therefore dissociate ourselves and our organizations from the planned protest which has been planned in support of certain elements and fractions of the ruling class in rivers state. Our allegiance and partisanship is for the assaulted, violated and oppressed Nigerian toiling masses.

''By this statement, we have this day reframed the question being posed! The Abuja seat of Power (Aso Rock) and Port Harcourt Seat of Power (Brick House) are not the only options before us. We have decided to route for the toiling masses in their effort to extricate themselves from the matrix of social decay which an avaricious ruling class has enmeshed them in.

''Solidarity to the toiling masses of Rivers State. Solidarity to the toiling masses of Nigeria! Down with the Reign of Impunity and Corruption!Down with the Social System that threw-up Vagabonds in Power (VIPs)! Down with the Social System that transforms Citizens’ Organizations into Fascist Stomp Troopers and Destructive Armed Insurgents! ''

Activists who endosed the statement are, Styvn Obodoekwe,  UAD Rivers State; Vivian Bellonwu  Social Action; Emen Okon..  Kebetkache;
Constance Meju .. CEMEDEC; Orike Didi.. . Socialist Workers’ Movement; Godwin Frank ..  Chikoko Movement; Kentebe Ebiaridor.. Oil Watch Africa; Livingstone Wechie..  Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Rivers State branch; Sotonye George..  Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Rivers State branch; Karl Chinedu Uchegbu.. Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO,South South zone.; Michael Gbarale .. Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, CEHRD; and Solomon Clifford Christopher; Students Environmental Assembly, SEA, UST.  ENDS


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