Greetings my fellow Nigerians,
My name is Azeenarh Mohammed, I have been collectively recognised as the face and speaker of the occupy Nigeria protest, Abuja.
I am sorry that I have to speak to you through the medium of the internet, but due to safety and publishing concerns this was the best mode we could find.
Am talking to you now with much despair, my heart is broken, shattered and damaged, but my patriotism remains the foundation in which we, the citizens would change this great country.
Firstly I wish to declare a moment of silence, to the protesters, the martyrs, the hero’s that were lost during the campaign. (Silence) My God bless your sacrifice to your nation and I assure you that your blood would not be spilt in vain.
- Reason for Protest
On the 1st of January, 2012, our President, through the Petroleum Products Regulatory Agency announced the removal of citizen welfare on PMS, publicly known as subsidy. This singular act, increased the price of fuel by 117%, that is $0.9/litre, in a country that is among the top 10 oil producing nations in the world.
We, the Nigerian people, since Monday, the 2nd of January, 2012 have been protesting this evil act by the Federal Government and will not rest until our demands are met and implemented.
- Peaceful and Liberal Protest
We, under the umbrella of the occupy Nigeria movement, have planned a series of protests, demonstrations, sit-ins and boycotts across the nation. Peaceful, peaceful, protests is the underlining principle of the movement. We will not engage with the security personnel, we will not destroy public property or condone any form of violence by our members. We will achieve our aim through peaceful means, like the greats before us, the Martin Luther’s, the Neilson Mandela’s and the Mahatma Gandhi’s.
We are not Igbo’s, Yoruba’s, Ijaw’s, Hausa’s… we are not Christians, Muslims, Pagans, Agnostics… we are not from the North, South, East or West… we are Nigerians, united by the constitution and by our opposition to the removal of fuel subsidy.
- Leadership, Political Power and Sponsorship
Occupy Nigeria has no leader, I am but just a face, just a speaker against the inhumane treatment of my fellow Nigerians. The officials of the movement in all parts of Nigeria have agreed to sacrifice any career we would have had in politics. We will not use this as a means to forward or propel political agendas. To the rumours that we are being sponsored by political interests, I assure you that no one is sponsoring this to his political advantage. We were at the Eagle Square for three days asking for public contributions and assistance. So in a way, yes, we have sponsors, and our sponsors are the Nigerian people, united by a dream of hope, a dream that one day, corruption in Nigeria would be stories told of the past.
- To Protesters
To my fellow protesters I say, WELL-DONE! We have already won, just a few months ago to suggest occupy Nigeria seemed like a myth. We have proved that it is possible, that it is true that Nigerians can stand up and fight for their rights.
They would not yield easy; they would look for inhumane ways to attack us, through propaganda and violence. They will send infiltrators to sabotage our efforts, but we must not yield easy too and we must not scoop low to their level of barbarism.
- Demand for Protesters
Our first demand to the Federal Government of Nigeria is to please recede the order to crackdown on protesters. The inhumane treatment, so far of protesters fighting for their rights is enough, the Government should tell their security operatives not to shoot, fire tear gas or attack peaceful protesters.
Secondly, the Government must offer compensations to the protesters that were already injured, killed or harassed by the security personnel, during the peaceful protests across the country. We are all citizens of Nigeria and it is a shame for our own Government to rise up with weapons against the same people that elected them into power just a few months ago.
We will not change our stand on the martyrs that were lost during the movement, these first two demands (for the Government to react peacefully towards the protesters and the compensation to the protesters that were physically affected by the actions of the security personnel) are statutory and we will not yield or enter any form of discussions until they are met.
- Demand for Investigations
We the humble citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, wishes that the Government setup an investigatory panel of independent experts of our choosing alongside observers from the international community to;
- Thoroughly investigate the Nigerian petroleum industry and publish their findings publicly, including the drilling, refining, transportation, exportation and the Governments assertions of a “cabal” controlling the sector.
- To extensively investigate the lack of swift Government response and success in dealing with the current security concerns in the country.
- Demand for Subsidy Removal Reversal
The primary aim for the occupy Nigeria protest is a simple one, the people have spoken, we want the fuel subsidy programme reinstated. As one of my colleagues said, “if they ask me, what is your name? I will tell them, I am called 65 naira. Where are you from? I am from 65 naira. Why are you here? 65 naira. Please leave this place. 65 naira.
I would like to say that we support the NLC and TUC’s efforts in their strikes and protests and we employ that they avoid violence by any means necessary. Nigerians all over the world, if you love your country, as I know you do, this is the time to stand up and fight for it. Organize yourselves anywhere you are in the world, protest and occupy Nigerian High Commissions until our voices are heard. If you are afraid, then have no doubt, that we would lose our freedom. We must be faithful, loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all our strength and defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory. So help me God.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.