Horrific train attack by bandits indicative of Nigerian society’s deep social ills

Rail tracks to Kaduna (photo: Zami1997/CC)

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the tragic attack by terrorists on a Kaduna-bound train on Monday, March 28, 2022, and condoles with the families of the victims, as well as the leadership and members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the loss of their General Secretary, Comrade Musa Lawal Ozigi, and their Kwara State Chairman, Comrade Akin Akinsola, during the tragedy. We strongly believe that the nonchalance, cluelessness and absolute failure in all ramifications of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Government are once again responsible for this calamity, as well as many before it.

According to emerging reports of the incident, some were killed, many were injured, while several more are feared kidnapped when terrorists armed with explosives blew up the train track at Rigasa area of Kaduna state and opened fire on the train reportedly filled with about 970 passengers around 10 pm on Monday 28 March 2022. We hereby demand immediate compensation for the families of the dead and prompt and adequate care for the injured as well as the immediate rescue of those who have been kidnapped.

We urge the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), which also lost a member, Dr Chinelo Megafu, to use the occasion of this tragedy to launch a national day of mourning and protest to demand from the Buhari government an immediate end to the raging insecurity across the country or resign. Such a protest should also include demands on the collapse of power supply in the country, fuel price hikes and scarcity, inflation, worsening living conditions and many other anti-poor policies.

For the SPN, the Kaduna train tragedy demonstrates the bankruptcy and incapability of Nigeria’s corrupt and crooked capitalist ruling elite to safeguard the lives of the citizens let alone guarantee them any reasonable standard of living. Therefore, this urgently calls for the labour movement to rise to the occasion by organizing to fight for immediate improvement while also proffering a political alternative to wrest power from the capitalist locusts in power. We dare to say that if the labour movement decides to act as spectators in the 2023 general elections instead of intervening through a mass working people’s political alternative to taking political power, it cannot be ruled out that more of this kind of tragedy and even possibly on a larger scale will be the order of the day for the post-2023 period.

The above is not an empty abstraction. According to a special report by the Kaduna state government, bandits were said to have killed more than 1,192 persons while abducting 3,348 people in Kaduna state alone in the year 2021. Similarly, data compiled by the US based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) shows that at least 10,398 persons were killed across Nigeria from January 1 to December 31, 2021, while victims of kidnapping were no less than 5000. The fact is that at the moment, there are no parts of the country that are safe.

Mass poverty and wealth inequality

Indeed, the fact that the ill-fated train had close to a thousand passengers on board is indicative that many of them were fearful of travelling by road. The Abuja-Kaduna road has become very unsafe just like many other federal and state highways across the country, where kidnappings for ransom, armed robbery and killings are regular occurrences.

As we have always argued, the raging insecurity in Nigeria has deep social roots. Some of the factors responsible for these crises are the condition of mass poverty and wealth inequality, unemployment, failure of successive capitalist regimes to ensure the harmonious development of all parts, climate change, divisive activities of competing factions of the ruling class and the unresolved national question.

Unfortunately, no member or section of the corrupt capitalist ruling elite has the solutions to these problems. Therefore, we call on the working class, the trade union movement, students/youth movement, pro-masses organisations and left parties to come together to work out a programme of action. This can be used to struggle to demand improvements in living conditions while simultaneously building a mass workers’ political alternative to overthrow the broken capitalist system of exploitation and corruption and replace it with a workers’ and poor people’s government armed with socialist policies.

  • We condole with the TUC over the loss of its General Secretary and State Chapter Chairman in the Mindless Attack

  • We urge the Labour Movement to Declare a National Day of Mourning and Protest Against Insecurity, Government Ineptitude and Worsening Living Conditions

 

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April 2022
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