Fight wage-cuts, mass sackings and cuts in public funding! Cancel all foreign and domestic debt!
Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV) [RCIT Nigeria] 15th June, 2020. http://www.revolutionarysocialistvanguard.WordPress.com
The continual easing of the lock downs, travel bans and other restrictions come as a spectacle to many Nigerians especially as the number of COVID-19 infected cases have seen a steady rise, and even though many are beginning to lose trust in the official figures there is still a mixture of confusion and anger in the atmosphere. The debate on how to go about easing restrictions is almost taking center place in the bourgeois media with the focus being on religious gatherings. This amongst other developments show that the whole travesty of the lock downs and other measures taken by the governments was never in the interest of public health or preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The most decisive proof of this is the move by the Buhari led APC regime to cut spending on public health by 40% while simultaneously planning to spend 27 billion naira on renovating the national assembly complex. For a nation with one of the most precarious doctor to patient ratio a blanket lock down in any state of the federation should be taken with a grain of salt but to decide to defund the health sector shows that the lock downs was originally a death sentence for the poor and homeless. The lock downs wreaked acute starvation in its wake, this served a lever for increased crime rates, food riots and consequently heightened police aggression which claimed the lives of many Nigerians.
Apart from these, several other deaths occurred due to the inaccessibility to medical facilities because of the restrictions and the panic spread by the bourgeois media and establishment. Many patients on routine health appointments could not keep up causing their condition to worsen, sometimes leading to death. Emergency cases like that of pregnant women was also very poorly managed due to the restrictions.
Instead of a serious campaign to rejuvenate the public health facilities and infrastructure, focus on the lock downs and ban on democratic rights have left the national health sector without any improvement rather it is in a state of regression.
The RCIT has reiterated severally that the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic was not lock down, travel ban and other measures of state repression but a health program that seeks to expand and upgrade the health sector; mass testing with quarantine of infected cases; provision of food for the poor masses etc. We have noted in the past that without these measures it becomes impossible for the world governments to find leverage to blame the pandemic for the economic slump which was visible before any popular trace of the disease. At the same, time we emphasized that such measures was to prepare grounds for the harshest economic attacks on the workers and oppressed people through a state bonapartist agenda.
The Nigerian governments at all levels have not strayed from this correct assessment but confirmed it. That is why it is hardly surprising that the Buhari government along with the National Assembly aim to cut funding for health and education by 42.7% and 54.2% respectively. Despite claims to reduce funds on parts of the budget like the National Assembly and the renovation of the National Assembly complex, we find that only a 10% reduction has been made for the two expenditure that has taken the lion share of the national budget for decades, while more than half of the initially insufficient funds (5% percent budgetary allocation each for health and education) for the health and educational sector must be slashed. It is important to point out that this decision comes amidst large wage-cuts, mass retrenchment of workers and massive discontent amongst workers from backlogs of outstanding pay by the government.
It is on such backgrounds that the strike of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is predicated.  Unions of medical workers have often complained about the pittance called hazard allowance; the backlogs of allowances and other grants owed them by the government coupled with the failure to provide personal protective equipment for medical personnel and other health workers in this pandemic. We might not be able to give full details of the demands of the NARD here but we see this as an example which all revolutionary and progressive organizations must follow and support.
In the light of the foregoing, it is criminal for the Buhari government to continue to acquire loans as Nigeria’s total debt now stands at 33 trillion naira  even in the face of gross incompetence regarding all sectors of national living but mostly reflected in the insecurity, poverty and hunger bedevilling the masses. These loans are only a paid exchange between the imperialist institutions in the East and West and the Nigerian bourgeoisie for defunding public services and the crippling of the local industries for erosion by their foreign multinational corporations.
The outbreak of uprisings in Iraq, Lebanon, Hong-Kong and finally in the US following the murder of George Floyd is sufficient confirmation of our position in the RCIT, that in order for the masses to fight for a better living and overcome the onslaught of the global trend in state bonapartist attacks, we must break all restrictions to our right to freely assembly and gather publicly. World governments can already see the explosive potential of the lock downs on mass uprisings so they seek a means to fast track ease of the restictions.
The same goes for a rejuvenation of the health sector, without a mass struggle of the united workers and peasants movement it is impossible to save the public health. It is on this bases that we call on all authentic revolutionaries, progressives, workers’ unions, civil society groups to support the on-going strike of the NARD. We say that all unions must call for a general strike as a step towards a unitary anti-government uprising.
We warn against any attempt to return to the lock downs under the pretext of preventing the second wave of the pandemic, for this will only further worsen the health and living conditions of the poor masses. A return to or any form of support against public gatherings and mass actions will at this time only raise the already heightened contradictions to barbaric levels.
It is crucial to note that at any point in time the stopping the spread of corona virus cannot be given a central position when compared to other health hazards and equally, if not more life-threatening diseases like cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis, hypertension, AIDS, malaria etc. All of this diseases must be dealt with at the bases of the system that subjects many to precarious, unhygienic living conditions, abject poverty and many other unfavourable underlying conditions.
Again we say that all restrictions must be confounded on the basis of mass remonstrance for the terms of easing such restrictions by the government cannot align with the interest of the workers and oppressed.
For this cause, we call for a unification of all demonstrations against rape, police brutality, economic attacks, insecurity and underfunding of public services into one anti-government uprising.
For payment of all outstanding salaries, allowances and grants to public workers both in the health and educational sectors. Increase hazard allowance for all medical personnel!
For immediate revitalization and expansion of the health infrastructure with recruitment of additional health workers. This expansion must be funded with taxes from the rich!
Fight wage-cuts, mass layoffs, casualization of workers and other austerity measures such as cuts in public funding and IPPIS!
Cancel all domestic and foreign debts!
For a general strike now!
Onward to a socialist future!
International Liaison Personnel,
Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RCIT Nigeria).
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