Sunday, 13 January 2013

Videonews: "In Gay We Trust"------Vatican Protesters

News Release: Rivers State UAD On 1st Anniversary Of Jan. (2012) Uprising

Protest Against Fuel Subsidy Removal In Nigeria In January 2012
Gentlemen of the press,
we recall, with sadness and shock that On January 1st 2012, as a new year gift of hardship and increased exploitation to Nigerians from their government, the price of petrol was arbitrarily increased from N65 per litre to N140 per litre; effectively locking a majority of citizens who live in poverty in their state of poverty, while also threatening to wipe out the middle class and drag it into poverty as the prices of goods and services automatically skyrocketed.
Thus it was that from January 2nd, we all rose up as one people and achieved in the subsequent 11 days of glorious nationwide mass action and general strike, for ourselves and our country, a landmark action that has changed the status of government/citizen relationship and redefined citizen reaction to inept, incompetent, light fingered, treasury looting, selfish and greedy ruling class types.

In the January Protests, we stamped our feet on the ground, drew a redline in the sand, and stood our ground insisting that ‘Enough Is Enough’! And inspite of the abrupt manner by which our evolving revolution was truncated through the use of military forces, we have very literally remained at the barricades ever since.
While the removal of the subsidy was the trigger, most Nigerians were clear that our concerns were around the cost of governance and unbridled waste and corruption which has led us down the path where our refineries have become moribund. In the process, they have turned the 6th largest oil producer in the world, with the 3rd largest installed refinery capacity in Africa, into one that depends exclusively on importation of refined products to meet its domestic needs! We are the only member nation of OPEC that is in such a sorry state!
We dared to struggle against the systemic corruption and impunity that has become the defining character of governance, and impoverished 70% of our population, ensuring that the richest 10% of Nigerians [perpetrators and beneficiaries of treasury looting] owned 41% of national wealth, while 20% of the poorest Nigerians barely own 4.1% of national wealth.
Thus as we enter into the period of the first anniversary of our collective fury, with all the issues that have since emerged; with the revelations about the actual scale and scope of the corruption and rot in the system, and little having been done in the last year with regards to taking concrete steps to clean the Augean stable of corruption, grand theft, and impunity; it behoves on us, Nigerian citizens, the victims of this grand theft and treasury looting to remind our ruling elite that it will not be business as usual.
As we reflect on the events of January 2012 and the weeks and months that followed, we choose to mark this anniversary for four key reasons:
·         To remember and honor those who died during the protests and to call on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and other human rights groups to urgently take up these cases to ensure that justice is secured for the victims and compensation paid to their families as required by law.
·         To Honor Nigerians who came out in thousands to publicly display their discontent against bad governance
·         To Remind government of its failed promise of public ‘service’.
·         To Remind Government and citizens of their responsibilities and obligations.
As the uprising is commemorated across the country, We in rivers state wish to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of the world to the misrulership and outright mockery of governance going on in rivers state. Sadly, this misrulership is being propagated, through well oiled propaganda machinery, as excellent performances. In rivers state, rulership has been turned into a tool for unleashing wickedness and state organised terrorism on the masses.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been uprooted from their homes and sources of livelihood in most callous patterns as a result of government’s policy of demolition of communities like njemanze, Abonemma wharf and Zor Sogho, an ogoni community despite protests by the affected people and concerned groups. We remember these victims of the state government’s forced eviction policy.
We are concerned and worried that the government has turned some parts of ogoni land, such as zor sogho into an occupied territory as a result of the land grab policy of the governor in the guise of banana plantation. And the soldiers of occupation have continued to unleash terror on poor local people, killing, maiming and brutalising with impunity, while in the city of portharcourt, agents of the state, such as Tima Riv, have been unleashed on the society  to terrorise people at will.
The mockery of governance and wickedness in rulership going on in the state reached a climax during the flood disaster period during which the government displayed an utter hatred, disdain and insensitivity to the plights of the people in distress. Thus, rather than CARING FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE FLOOD DISASTER, using resources pooled together by the federal government, corporate bodies, NGOs and public spirited individuals to take care of the needs of the flood victims, the officials of the government embarked on the massive looting of the resources meant for the flood victims. And after plundering the resources, the government shut down the flood refugee camps abruptly without any notice and without any provision for shelter and means of survivals for the victims whose homes were destroyed by the flood.  We seize this opportunity of the anniversary of the january 2012 uprising to remember these flood victims who were abandoned to their fate by the government despite receiving relief materials including cash donations on their behalf by agents of the state, including flood camp committee led by the deputy governor. We also wish to remember an HIV AIDS victim who was ejected out of the camp with her 2 children by the deputy governor. The woman died few days after she was ejected from the camp at okwuzi, in ONELGA and dumped at an uncompleted building at a bush path. We call on human rights organisations and international community to demand justice for the family of the woman, especially her under aged children who have been rendered motherless by the wickedness of those in power.
The clarion call sounded in January 2012  will  continue to reverberate around the country. We remind all public officials at all levels of government, including rivers state and its local government levels, that we are watching and will continue to demand better governance through all peaceful forms of resistance to unjust government policies, laws, programs and actions.
Vivian Bello for social Action;
Rev U Johnson for Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO,  Rivers state branch
Godwin FRANK for Socialist Workers Movement (SWM)
Akpobari Celestine for Ogoni Solidarity Forum, OSF
Obodoekwe styvn for united action for democracy, UAD rivers state branch
Clifford solomon for Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO,  Rivers state branch
Kentebe Ebiaridor for environmental rights action, ERA/CLO rivers
Michael Gbarale for centre for environment, human rights and development, CEHRD/CLO rivers
Enefaa Georgewill for CLO
Karl Uchegbu for CLO South South zone
Orike didi for socialist workers movement, SWM
Emem okon for kebetkache women development and resource centre
Anyakwee Nsirimovu institute of human rights and humanitarian law,  IHRHL

Adopted this 9 th day of January, 2013

Article: The Real But Hidden Drivers Of Fuel Subsidy Removal Policy

Protest Against Fuel Subsidy Removal In Nigeria In January 2012

By Jaye Gaskia

The more we have challenged this regime and confronted it with counter arguments to the reasons it is proffering for the urgency with which it is determined to remove fuel subsidy; the more new facts have emerged based on logical and rational, as opposed to vodoo, analytical interpretation of official data from government and global Oil industry sources!

And from all that is emerging and that we know, it is now becoming quite glaringly clear that this regime is indeed beholden to, and unable to contain a parallel power structure, which it has sensationally referred to as the cabal or cartel. The ingrained culture of official corruption combined with the total lack of patriotism among public officials, has been and continues to be a significant factor in the apparent powerlessness of a ‘legitimate' government, when confronted by an 'illegitimate' counter power, organised in the cabal and cartel!

Let us take just one significant case study to explain this insincerity and subterfuge on the part of government; The question of domestic refining capacity, and the issue as to whether we ought to be importing refined petroleum products in the first place at all!

The regime is posturing as if we do not have installed domestic capacity to refine crude oil; this is absolutely a lie. We now know that from 1 barrel of crude oil, we can get 168 litres of refined fuel, out of which 73.05 litres is PMS [petrol]; so with installed capacity of 445,000 barrels of crude per day in the existing 4 refineries, we can conveniently refine 74.8 million liters of refined fuel per day, out of which, we can get 32.5 million liters of PMS per day. And at the 40 million liters per day imported and paid for in 2012, itself still a bloated figure, we would only need to import about 7.5 million liters per day of PMS until the 3 new GreenField refineries come on board! So why is the regime not willing and able to pursue this cause of action? It must be because it not only aid and abets the criminality in the sector, it provides protection for the criminals, and is itself rather a major beneficiary of the corruption and treasury looting [a state crime] that is being perpetrated and perpetuated.

What is interesting about these figures is that if the four refineries were working at 100% capacity or even at 90% installed capacity, we would be able to conveniently meet daily domestic consumption of PMS from domestic refining of crude. This means we will be ale to cut out the unnecessary waste of about 85 Naira added to the 65 Naira per liter cost which arises solely because of the cost of importation. Furthermore, we now also know that the effective cost of PMS per liter if we were to include domestic cost of production [refining] plus cost of distribution, plus profit margin, comes upto only 35 Naira per liter at most. This in effect means that we should in fact be paying far less per litre for petrol than we are currently paying.

Now the government claims that they have improved refining capacity in the refineries from the below 30% they met it two years ago to between 50% and 60% capacity as of today. The government have also said that it will get the refineries upto 90% capacity utilisation by the end of 2012. The implication of the foregoing is that if we already produce at 50% of installed capacity, then we should not be importing more than 18 million liters of PMS per day, and therefore the subsidy bill should have been half of what is currently claimed. Second, it has also been confirmed that a proper audit will confirm that we infact consume far less than 32 million liters of PMS per day, if we remove the waste that goes into smuggling across the borders and the sharp practices including round tripping which involves the oil import cartel and officials of government. Third, it also means that by the end of 2012 we can actual put a definitive stop to fuel importation, because we would have become self sufficient. So if we are to agree with the CBN governor that we can afford to continue to cover the importation costs [called subsidy] from public [that is federal funds] over the next four years, and that we would only run into severe crisis by 2015; then we can safely conclude that this subsidy can be continued for just one more year, by the end of which we wouyld have achieved sel sufficiency in domestic refining.

It is important that we have based all our analysis on what is existing [the four refineries], and have not included the implications of having additional 3 new refineries with combine capacity of 400,000 barrels of crude per day, and which the government have said can be completed in 2 years!

It therefore means that by the beginning of 2014, we would have acquired enough capacity to not only meet domestic needs but to also service the sub region with attendant additional export earnings as opposed to the present export spendings.

So why is the government presenting the facts as if we would continue to require substantial importation of refined fuel products over the next several years? Why is government insistent on continued importation, and therefore continued servicing of the cabal and cartel? Let us not forget that the removal of the subsidy those mean that importation will be stopped, or that the oil marketers/importers will not continue to import; infact it simply means that the government wants us to individually as citizens pay the importers for this costs, such that it is no longer covered from the public purse.

From the above, it is even more pertinent that will renew and strengthen our opposition to the proposed policy of hiking fuel prices, and insist that the Federal government of Nigeria ensures the 4 existing refineries are working at more than 90% capacity by the end of 2012, and that the 3 new refineries are completed and working at full capacity by the end of 2013. It can only do this if it confronts the cabal, tackle criminality in the sector and eliminate corruption from the sector. It will only be able to do this if we do not relent in our resistance and if we continue to increase the pressure on the regime through active mass resistance and direct action.

Return To The Streets, Retake Our Country, Reclaim Our Humanity, Occupy Nigeria For Social Transformation!