BEING A PRESS STATEMENT OF THE ALLIANCE OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS AGAINST NEO-LIBERAL ATTACKS (ANSA), OAU CHAPTER.
It goes without saying that the major cause of mass effusion of Nigerians from Nigeria and the steadfastness of remaining Nigerians to follow suit is a resultant of the crushing hardship that more than half of the Nigerian population are faced with on a daily bases. Even Nigerian students are convinced that no quality source of standard education can be gotten within the boundaries of our nation. Hence the number of Nigerian migrants in other nations of the world is bound to increase. Alas, the recent news reports of Nigerians involving in cyber crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking and racketeering of all sorts shows that no where in the world can serve as ‘greener pastures’ for too long because the same problems and contradictions we experience in Nigeria are not far fetched in other countries of the world they are only abridged by the age-long agitations of the masses in those countries, a culture which is becoming more popular amongst the populace in Nigeria.
That is why for us, in ANSA, we believe that the salvation Nigerians crave and the hope for a better living can only be supplied by a thorough-going mass struggle against the anti-student and anti-people dictatorship of the Nigerian ruling elite who have been crystallized into the two arms of right-wing despotism in our country namely; APC & PDP. Nigerians must note that at present there remains nowhere to run if the present conditions that face an average Nigerian in his homeland is not ameliorated. The chaos in Nigeria can only produce stigmatized immigrants in other countries. Although we frown at all forms of discrimination but immigrants and minorities have been known to face the backlash of economic ills and ebbs in foreign countries and the only panacea to such is raising the prestige and respect from home.
It is worthy of note that the xenophobic attacks are not peculiar to South Africa alone, discrimination and hatred for minorities and immigrants only has different names under different climes. In America and other parts of Europe it is called White Supremacy the most lucid symbol of which is Donald Trump’s proposed border wall; in the Middle East it is Zionism and Jihad yet all of these are but excresence of an ailing economy both home and abroad. The world is in a situation where the wealth of billions of people are being arrogated by a handful which consists of an unholy alliance of world governments and the transnational/national business moguls. In this regard there should be no special case of hatred between Nigerians and South Africans.
For the present case of South African xenophobia, both the Buhari and Ramaphosa administration are culpable. The Buhari regime as constantly cut funding for public institutions most especially education and health care. Public education which is a vital composition of national survival has been kicked to the curb continually by the Buhari government which as drastically reduced the budgetary allocation to education for every year in office. This year a terse sum of 50.15 billion naira was allocated to education which has about 40 million students excluding staff making the annual estimate for expenditure per student 1,250 naira and the daily estimate 3 naira 50 kobo while an average senator goes home with nothing less than 14 million naira monthly irrespective of allowances while also failing to implement the 30,000 naira minimum wage. As if this was not enough, the reports of huge sums of money being swallowed by snakes and monkeys is unending. After years of Buhari’s ‘anti-corruption war’ Nigerians have had nothing to show for it besides privatization of public institutions and hikes in the prices of public services such as electricity.
On the southern end of our continent, his more ‘amiable’ counterpart Ramaphosa is doing nothing to dismantle the primitive accumulation of South African wealth and lands by the ‘powerful’ few since the apartheid. Now the costs of the decades long unbridled avarice is now being felt by ordinary South Africans. However it is this same rich few who have planted the seeds of discord by amassing resources in a barbaric fashion that have still watered it by employing or giving special grants to foreigners all for the purpose of making illicit gain. It is a known fact that immigrants are always been seen by business cabals as an easy means for cheap labour thereby side-lining there own indigenes.
Also it is the general tendency of modern governments just like that of South Africa to give large control of the nation’s economic mainstay to foreigners to weaken accountability and undermine labour relations. This is another form of divide and rule tactic launched against the oppressed.
Our enemies in all parts of Africa are the sponsors and agents of neo-liberalism who are not marked by tribe or race but who signify by their support and action for the concentration of Africa’s wealth in the hands of imperialist and governments loyal to their interests. The same is being done in Nigeria where our oil refineries are but extant and all our petroleum products are imported. The new refinery being finished in Lagos would by no means bring a sigh of relief to Nigerians but a continuum in hardships since it is under the control of the same rogue sect that has perpetuated hikes and shortages in our mineral resources.
For us in the Alliance, we are not a party to the declaration by the NANS president that all South Africans should leave Nigeria and their businesses shut-down. It is irrational, impulsive and hypocritical for if you do not address the cause of the problem which is the government of both countries how can you punish the average citizens for something they did not partake in. In fact what leverage has he to effect his threat given that NANS though a supposed student body is totally disconnected from Nigerian students moreso their plight.
We propose rather a working and robust relationship between South African students bodies and Nigerian students unions. The same relationship must be forged between civil society groups and labour unions in Nigeria and South Africa to fight the governments home and abroad. There is no better historical necessity for the formation of this bond than the present crucible of the xenophobia crises.
At every instant of international or regional crises the Nigerian and South African students, workers, and popular masses must acknowledge that the real enemy is at home or is of the same nationality and they are found only in the class of exploiters at the helms of affairs.
OUR MAJOR STANDPOINTS:
WE CONDEMN THE XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS ON NIGERIANS AND OTHER IMMIGRANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA. THE ATTACKS ARE RESULTANT OF THE ANTI-PEOPLE POLICIES OF PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA IN SOUTH AFRICA AND PRESIDENT BUHARI IN NIGERIA.
WE ALONGSIDE OTHER NIGERIANS CALL FOR AN END TO UNEMPLOYMENT AND “CHEAP LABOUR”. EQUAL PAY AND ALLOWANCES FOR ALL WORKERS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND NIGERIA WHETHER NATIONALS OR IMMIGRANTS.
END PRIVATIZATION! XENOPHOBIA IS A SIGN THAT PRIVATE COMPANIES ARE INUNDATED BY THE SUPPLY IN THE LABOUR MARKET. THE GOVERNMENT OF BOTH NATIONS MUST PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT BY NATIONALIZING MAJOR ENTERPRISES.
THIS IS A LABOUR CRISIS; THE NLC AND TUC MUST BEGIN TO FORGE RELATIONS WITH LABOUR AND OTHER CIVIL ORGANIZATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA.
PRESIDENT BUHARI AND PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA MUST PAY REPARATIONS FOR DAMAGED BUSINESS ASSETS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND NIGERIA.
WE ARE NOT A PARTY TO THE CALL OF THE NANS PRESIDENT DANIELSON BAMIDELE FOR THE EXODUS OF ALL SOUTH AFRICANS LIVING IN NIGERIA AND THE CLOSURE OF THEIR BUSINESSES.
Owoeye Olaoluwa (Olamarx),