Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), Nigerian Section of the RCIT. 23rd December, 2021. https://revolutionarysocialistvanguard.wordpress.com/
The official COVID response continues to break new boundaries in the bizarre. The University of Ilorin (UNIILORIN) announced that only first-class graduates would be allowed to attend the convocation ceremony for graduating students in order to prevent the spread of COVID. Other universities like the University of Ibadan (UI) and other tertiary institutions have followed suit. ¹ The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have also said that prospective members must show evidence of vaccination before being allowed to partake in the scheme. Babajide Sanwo-Olu the governor of Lagos state has announced plans to enforce the use of vaccine cards for social gatherings. ²
Following these awry developments is a steady campaign for a grander plan. President Buhari has just got a booster shot. Pastor Kumuyi, one of the general overseers of one of the largest Pentecostals in Nigeria has warned citizens against seeing the virus as “politically motivated” by claiming that several of his church members had contracted the virus. Atedo Peterside, one of the so-called Nigerian technocrats has informed the media that he is in isolation after being infected with the Omicron variant. This comes shortly before the NCDC announced a 500 percent increase in the number of COVID infections. ³ In short the media is once again warming up to defend more egregious policies in the name of COVID.
Despite all of the new rules and the government sponsored commercials for the pandemic, 1 million doses of the vaccine got expired in Nigeria and 450,000 in eight African countries as the manufacture and proliferation of fake COVID passports and vaccination certificates have risen across major cities in Nigeria. ⁴ In fact according to Al Jazeera, the manufacture of fake COVID passports is fast becoming a criminal industry.
If the pandemic was so serious in Nigeria how come about one-sixth of the vaccines received have expired. Even if we assume it is due to incompetence how can one trust policies and schemes of such an incompetent government. This again shows that the official pandemic response does not have as its primary focus the health of the population. Rather it is fueled by a ploy to separate and disarm the workers.
The Federal and state governments will try to prevent further vaccine wastage by enforcing the use of vaccine cards/certificates in order to impress their imperialist masters. This means segregation amongst workers based on those vaccinated and those who are not; those with one or two and this or that booster and those who haven’t. Vaccine certificates can also be used to downsize the number of workers eligible for jobs in the labour market which already has an alarming rate of unemployed.
Of course, mandating people to get any form of certificate/passport/pass before they can be allowed to work, visit certain places such as bars, pubs or even use public transport as it is been done in Europe is only a textbook method of implementing forced vaccinations. Effectively taking away the opportunity for people to choose what they want coupled with segregation based on certain rules. These are the typical features of apartheid, a COVID apartheid if you will.
All calls and campaigns for mass vaccination bolster this COVID apartheid and are equally dangerous since they will lead to segregation in society. As has been said the APC/PDP government like all other members of the global ruling class mobilize “technocrats”; religious bodies, bourgeois scientists and the media to launch a second wave of the COVID Counterrevolution. The Omicron variant is the booster for this fresh assault against the masses which consists of forced vaccinations; segregation/apartheid; increased surveillance on the population; up to house arrests for the whole population and national chauvinism dubbed as compulsory vaccination; green pass/vaccine certificates; health apps; lockdowns and travel bans respectively.
The major motive of the ruling class stems since the beginning of the pandemic from the shipwreck of the capitalist system which reached its most severe form in 2019. It is the desperation to preserve their position of power and affluence that has prompted this epochal despotism from the ruling class. The economy has failed to recover from the depression rather it has entered a second slump hence the second wave of counter-revolution using COVID as a smoke-screen. Key features of this second slump is the hyperinflation in (Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and energy prices generally the results of which the RCIT has designated as Dark Winter in the imperialist countries.
Another feature is the debt crises of real estate giants like Evergrande and Kaisa in China. The UK and Canada have removed Nigeria and some African countries from their travel ban list following global pressure coupled with the reciprocal travel ban of the Buhari government on those countries. The fact that Nigeria can reciprocate a travel ban on the UK shows the weakening influence of Western imperialism on Africa moreso the global stage. The Western imperialists know this so they are quick to lift such bans especially after president Buhari seem to be shifting the location for his medical tourism eastward and seems to be collaborating with China to fight terrorism. ⁵
Another peripheral event that shows how the bourgeois COVID policy is only a continuation of their anti-people politics by other means is that the travel bans occur at a period when the imperialist metropolises face an immigration crises. First, the Haitian immigrants who were brutalized at the US border by Texan border patrols and Arab immigrants left in inhumane conditions at the Belarus-Poland border. The latter directly coincides with the Omicron travel bans.
We reiterate with this medium that while we condemn the travel ban, the primary demand should be the upgrade and expansion of the health sector under workers control rather than whether or not upper middle class or petty bourgeois people get to visit the country of their choice.
Our position has always been that to fight a pandemic, the health sector must be expanded and upgraded. The housing of the rural and urban poor must be lifted to hygienic conditions. That health workers deserve a monumental pay increase and a colossal addition to their numbers. That the diet and general living conditions of the people must be given priority and at no costs to limit the number of people with pre-existing health conditions which is a major factor in COVID deaths. That climate change must be fought to reduce the rate at which novel pathogens can infect human beings or mutate within the human population. In short, all measures that stem from the understanding of the COVID pandemic as a product of systemic decadence.
In contrast the government’s policy has been to cut spending for health. A refusal to pay health workers outstanding salaries and leave their hazard allowance a pittance. In fact, since the beginning of the pandemic health workers have not stopped complaining about how their profession is being casualised. People who have other health conditions are abandoned as long as COVID is not added to the illnesses they already suffer.
At the same time the whole period of the pandemic has been very profitable for the bourgeoisie as it has provided an opportunity for them to divert their capital to more profitable fields in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, IT and big tech industries accruing gargantuan wealth amounting to billions of dollars to the point that it is now possible to see a trillionaire in the next couple of years. Of course, this wealth does appear out of thin air it is the result of mass sackings; government investing in hasty vaccine production and surveillance technologies (health pass scan codes etc.) rather than in public health and municipal amenities; spending of life savings of lower middle class and poor people etc.
Majority in the left have refused to acknowledge this reality rather they support vaccination drives of hastily made vaccines. They criticise the governments for vaccine inequality and refusal to give patents to African countries to produce the vaccines. The worst of them advocate for lockdowns; school closures; forced vaccination s; vaccine passports (whether digital or printed). They have failed to see or refuse to see the momentous shift of the global political elite from Neo-liberal capitalism down a slippery precipice of Bonapartist totalitarianism in the age of acute inter-imperialist rivalry.
Unlike the opportunist left, the masses and poor layers of the working class refuse the transition to totalitarianism and fight on the streets in protests against the complete control of their lives through starting steps as forced/compulsory vaccinations, vaccine certificates, lockdowns, closure of small businesses and schools etc. In fact, this is the major trend thoroughout Europe. Some workers in the docks of Italy have even gone on strike. Despite their betrayal by the left health workers are fighting the imposition of compulsory vaccination on them.
We are not against vaccination. Our position is that no aspect of public health should be left in the sole control of the big Pharma companies; bourgeois scientists and the ruling class. Rather the whole health sector and pharmaceutical industry should be under the control of the workers and popular masses which is impossible under Lockdowns and the massive expansion of the state apparatus with it. This is why criticism of our stance based on earlier vaccination schemes for other diseases is misplaced. With or without COVID the working class have always been right to second guess the products of the big pharmaceutical multinationals.
Just look at the opioid addiction in the US where Johnson & Johnson were solely responsible for failure to curtail the quantity of opioids sold after which they only got a slap on the wrist by US courts. ⁶ If opioid production was supervised by workers and urban poor such an occurrence would have been totally averted. The fact that in the past people have taken this or that vaccine for this or that disease doesn’t mean the people fully trusted the vaccination nor does it mean that the Pharma companies don’t want to overlook the side effects in order to make quick profits by spending less.
In a similar fashion given the crises ridden period, the capitalist scare mongering and coercion, government distrust is bound to increase. The hastily produced vaccines too are not helping matters. How can vaccination which should be taken in 2/3 shots with at least a week’s interval still require boosters anytime the virus mutates and there is a new variant. If care is not taken a new booster will be introduced for the Omicron variant putting the total number of shots and boosters around 5/6(!). Like the vaccines which do not work other emergency measures like the Lockdowns, restrictions during festive seasons, border and school closure have had to be repeated.
As people who are fully vaccinated have contracted the virus and died, so have the countries with the strictest Lockdowns; curfews and other recurring restrictions, remained the hotspot for the pandemic. In fact, Europe which has one of the highest vaccination rates has the highest number of infections. The bourgeois pandemic response has not and will never work it will only leave more devastating collateral damage in its wake. Now is the time for an intransigent struggle against the second wave of the COVID Counterrevolution!
Fight against COVID passports/vaccine certificates! They are the tools of forced vaccination and COVID apartheid! No segregation for unvaccinated people!
No to any form of Lockdowns, school closures and curfews in the New Year! Defend the right of people to gather publicly and their homes!
Down with all travel bans, border closure and red listing because of the Omicron! Increased funding for the health sector! Full payment for the NARD and other workers owed salaries and allowances! Massive recruitment of health workers and medical practitioners with a monumental pay rise for them!
Put the whole health sector and pharmaceutical industries under the control of the workers and popular masses!
Standard housing and hygienic living conditions for the poor and homeless! Expropriate the transnationals and put the energy sector in the hands of the working class and poor peasants to stop climate change!
For a Revolutionary International Workers Party to end capitalism! This is what the RCIT is fighting for. Join the RCIT!
1. https://tribuneonlineng.com/unilorin-holds-convocation-bars-graduates-without-first-class-from-attending/; https://punchng.com/covid-19-ui-bars-graduands-without-first-class-from-convocation-hall/
2. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2021/12/only-those-vaccinated-against-covid-19-will-serve-from-next-year-nysc/amp/; http://saharareporters.com/2021/12/08/omicron-vaccination-cards-others-now-needed-attend-social-events-lagos%E2%80%94governor-sanwo-olu; https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://guardian.ng/news/covid-19-vaccination-card-compulsory-to-attend-social-gathering-in-lagos-sanwo-olu/&ved=2ahUKEwiI6MHPpvr0AhVPXBoKHcZFBCwQFnoECAwQAQ&usg=AOvVaw3EgKaMzKP9ORey15RxEwsj
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4. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/12/22/nigeria-destroys-more-than-1-million-expired-covid-vaccines&ved=2ahUKEwjQ8PPkqfr0AhWLJcAKHc_6CBgQFnoECD8QAQ&usg=AOvVaw2bJX1tz4Kkt9mKEJD9NqVu; https://www.bbc.com/news/59580982
5. https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/488256-covid-19-uk-relaxes-travel-restrictions-for-nigerians-others.html; https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://punchng.com/buhari-snubs-calls-to-visit-north-jets-out-to-turkey-with-wife-seven-ministers/%3Famp&ved=2ahUKEwjr0syvyfr0AhVJ3KQKHb9nBtAQFnoECBQQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1mpKiV8RUJQkjzZPKTijGe; https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.thecable.ng/china-to-send-security-experts-to-nigeria-to-tackle-insecurity/amp&ved=2ahUKEwigm9Dhyfr0AhVqMewKHcfCCfkQFnoECCEQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1JugzZ17cGjjWt6kx7YKi4; https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://tribuneonlineng.com/chinese-govt-expresses-readiness-to-help-nigeria-tackle-insecurity/&ved=2ahUKEwigm9Dhyfr0AhVqMewKHcfCCfkQFnoECAgQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1vggIlSTcwa0yOg6w6IUCQ