The Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL) condemns privatization and deregulation. These merely benefit the rich few at the expense of the immense majority. Thus, we demand that the Lagos state government should stop selling off public assets, including Babs Animashaun Mechanic village in Surulere, to the highest bidder. It is imperative to point out that these lands and other properties of the people of the state that are being auctioned out by the state government serve as outlets for thousands of persons to meet their daily needs through hard work that generates incomes which are also taxed.
Recent occurrences show that Lagos state government is unrelenting in forcing poor working-class people off lands which are then sold to rich bosses and politicians. The case of Otodo-Gbame is still fresh in our minds. The most recent of these attacks is the violent acquisition and demolition of the Babs Animashaun Mechanic village in Surulere.
Since 1980, thousands of mechanics and other workers have been working under poor conditions in the Mechanic village to earn their livelihoods. But last year, October 20th, 2017 the state government forcefully removed thousands of workers from that place and demolished the Mechanic village.
Despite a subsisting court case against the unlawful and forceful displacement of the workers, the state government still continues with the occupation of the Mechanic village. Now new buildings are being erected on the site, that will be auctioned off to the wealthy elites. It is therefore cruel and unfair to working people to demolish these places hence making life difficult for workers and their families.
In the early hours of April 26th, 2018, during the protest organised by the Federation of Informal Workers Organization of Nigeria (FIWON) some thugs harassed the FIWON General Secretary, comrade Gbenga Komolafe and other FIWON members, in a conscious attempt to disrupt the protest. This attempt at intimidation failed woefully, demonstrating an ascendancy of workers’ power.
We hereby demand that the state government recover and return the Babs Animashaun Mechanic Village and the Lagos state dump sites that have been privatized, basically at least Thirty Thousand (30,000) workers have lost their jobs due to the privatization of 5 dump sites. Also we commend the popular action of FIWON and its members and call on the TUC and NLC Lagos state councils to join the fight against this attack, in solidarity.
Workers and Youth, Unite and Fight!