Nigeria: Buhari Blocks Big Tech’s State Subversion

buhari

President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.  Image from http://www.sunnewsonline.com

22-06-2021: In early June, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the indefinite suspension of Big Tech titan Twitter for its operations in Nigeria.[1] This was triggered by Twitter deleting some of President Buhari’s tweets in relation to the destabilisation of “protests” where dozens of buildings were set ablaze, ostensibly to highlight the accountability of police actions. Buhari had obliquely referred to the violence that engulfed the country during the Nigerian Civil War, when Biafra launched a separatist struggle, and warned involved youth of what they were getting themselves into. Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commented that the role of Twitter in Nigeria is very suspicious. He questioned why Twitter did not delete tweets of Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu but deleted the tweets of President Buhari. He highlighted the gross hypocrisy of Twitter in fuelling the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria in 2020, where “protestors” were burning police stations and killing police officers, and implying it was about the “right to protest”. Twitter loudly proclaims its support of the right to free speech in other countries, but itself terminated the Twitter account of former US President Donald Trump at home,[2] which played a huge role in his defenestration.

US govt stumps for “free speech”

Apparently unaware of the dripping hypocrisy, the US government immediately demanded Nigeria reverse its ban on Twitter. Samantha Power, who as former US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) assiduously urged the world to wage regime change war against Syria,[3] pressed Nigeria to reinstate Twitter. Now as a director of the US Agency for International Development, Power claimed that Nigeria’s suspension of Twitter was “state-sanctioned denial of free speech”. Donald Trump, for his part, commended Nigeria for its actions and encouraged other nations to also ban Twitter and Facebook for NOT allowing free speech.[4] It appears ironic, but ever since his election in 2016, Donald Trump has largely steered a course to the left of what might be termed hyper-liberal imperialism. Big Tech is a central pillar of the liberal wing of imperialism, which engages in regime change operations overseas as a matter of course. In 2020 however, regime change came home to Washington.[5]

Needless to say, the US Empire cares not one whit about free speech anywhere on the planet. “Democracy”, “Free Speech” and “Human Rights” are simply rhetorical shrouds which dress up all facets of the imperialist proxy wars and covert subversion it practices all around the globe. The US Empire is backed in this mission by its allies in the leading governments of the European Union (EU), and its lackeys in Australia, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others. Imperialism is driven into regime change frenzy due to the utter inability of finance capital to expand at home, which also results in open attacks on the working class – currently through the madness of a patently false “pandemic”.

Attempted recolonisation of Africa

With its population topping 211 million,[6] Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, and is thus the chief target for Washington’s multiple sided proxy wars of regime change throughout the continent. In effect, it is an attempted recolonisation of Africa by Wall Street, in an effort to block mutual co-operation between Abuja (the Nigerian capital) and the non-imperialist powers of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Washington reacts with fury to any nation in Africa, Asia or Latin America which takes the rather obvious option of signing military and security pacts with Russia, and economic and infrastructure agreements with the PRC. The US ruling class, with its EU allies, will resort to any method – up to and including the fomenting of fratricidal chaos and regime change war – to prevent Africans from looking even half favourably towards Russia and China. Twitter was patently fostering murderous destablisation within Nigeria, and thus it was entirely within Nigeria’s sovereign right to prevent its operation within the country.

In fact, one could argue that some of the nations that have also banned Twitter – the PRC, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or “North Korea”) and the Islamic Republic of Iran[7] – have NOT been overthrown precisely because Twitter and other imperialist Big Tech platforms have been disallowed. As some businesses within Nigeria operated on the basis of Twitter, Nigeria is reportedly losing $250 600 for every hour of the ban.[8] Yet this is a small price to pay for Nigeria to retain its independence and to curtail the internal devastation and destruction which could be  unleashed on Nigeria by all agents of Western finance capital – including US based Big Tech liberalism.

With capitalism globally in a state of utter decline, Nigeria and other African nations have no choice but to co-operate with the PRC, if they are to have any chance of reaching even modest development. The PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road”) offers critical opportunities for economy boosting infrastructure building which is sorely needed in Africa. Nigeria signed on to the BRI in 2018,[9] and has benefitted handsomely in terms of new railways and airports. Popular BRI projects completed in Nigeria include a standard gauge railway from the capital Abuja to the trade centre and transportation hub of Kaduna in Northwest Nigeria, and a standard gauge railway line from Nigeria’s economic capital of Lagos to Ibadan in the Southwest. PRC based firms have constructed new international airport terminals in Abuja, Port Harcourt (in the oil rich Niger delta) and the ancient city of Kano.[10] Undeniably, this infrastructure will stimulate much needed economic activity.

This mutually beneficial Nigerian/PRC friendly co-operation will only continue in coming years. The PRC, despite being a bureaucratically deformed workers state, operates on a planned economy, complete with 5-year plans. PRC officials have emphasised that Nigeria will be one of the beneficiaries to the PRC’s 14th Five Year Plan, to be implemented from 2021 to 2025. China’s Consul General in Lagos, Chu Maoming, stressed that “China’s new journey to fully build a modern socialist country is also a new journey for countries around the globe to enjoy win-win results and common prosperity….China will forge greater synergy of the BRI with African countries national development strategies…”[11]  Hearing this, one can only imagine the tearing out of hair amongst the corridors of power in the US White House and the Pentagon. China is clearly offering Nigeria an economic pathway out of underdevelopment, which will vastly boost the image of China internationally.

Boko Haram/ISWAP terror

With Nigeria beset by the terrorism of Boko Haram, security remains an all-important issue. Russia’s superior military power offers the only possible option for an African nation being plundered by what is most likely an imperialist backed genocide headed by Boko Haram and now the split off, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). At the very least, it is plausible that some of the fighters that make up Boko Haram and ISWAP simply marched across the Sahel region from NATO’s destruction of Green Libya in 2011, taking their weapons with them. NATO then sends in troops to fight “against” Boko Haram/ISWAP – a clearly self-serving agenda.[12] In the same way, the US government claimed to be fighting “against” ISIS during its failed regime change war against the Syrian Arab Republic.

In October 2019, President Buhari travelled to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to sign multiple agreements on military and economic co-operation. Buhari and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on further co-operation between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Russian oil company Lukoil, plus Russian gas company Gazprom, for the development of Nigeria’s considerable oil and gas reserves. Russia would also help Nigeria develop a zero-carbon nuclear power plant and move to forgive 20 billion dollars’ worth of African debt.[13] Needless to say, neither the US state nor US oil and gas companies can offer anything in the ballpark of these deals.

Also in October 2019, the Buhari administration moved to cement military co-operation and security ties with Russia. This was an urgent necessity given the murderous campaigns of Boko Haram and ISWAP across Nigeria. Deals signed at that time included the Nigerian purchase of Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment. It would also include the training of the Nigerian military in the use of this equipment. At the time, Nigerian envoy Steve Ugbah stated, “We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience in combating Islamic State in Syria”.[14] Arguably, the defeat of US imperialism in Syria by a combination of the armed forces of Syria, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah was their first defeat since the liberation of Saigon in 1975. Russia’s far superior air power – especially the SU-35 jet fighters – was critical in this victory.

With Nigeria openly hailing Russia’s success in defeating ISIS, it is little surprise the NATO powers grind their teeth at the prospect of African countries seeking Russian assistance. Yet the situation is so critical Nigeria has little option. The violent and life-threatening marauding of Boko Haram and ISWAP has caused the displacement of 2.2 million people fleeing the mayhem.[15] The origins of Boko Haram and its deployment across the African Sahel are extremely suspicious. Former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir claimed that the US and Israel, in the form of the CIA and Mossad, are behind Boko Haram and ISIS attacks in Africa[16], as “no Muslim would carry out such acts”. One thing is clear: just as ISIS and Al Qaeda could not carry out extreme mercenary violence across whole countries without the backing of large imperial states, Boko Haram and ISWAP cannot just be a rag-tag bunch of self-funded zealots committed to an obtuse strand of Islam. Their heavy weapons come from somewhere.

Soros/NED funded internal subversion

Washington does not just use the military option to destabilise Nigeria – it also uses externally funded internal political subversion. As in many other countries around the world, the deadly duo of the Open Society Foundation (OSF) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) run rampant through Africa’s largest nation. Liberal anti-socialist hedge fund billionaire George Soros and his OSF death-star like empire are behind Nigerian media fronts such as Brekete Family Radio,[17] while the NED brags about its Nigerian partners resisting “government repression” and popularising “democratic values”.[18] The very suggestion that George Soros and the NED are even remotely concerned about democracy in Nigeria (or anywhere else) should provoke peals of laughter throughout the globe. The OSF and the NED are but two arms of the imperialist octopus desperately trying to block the sovereign actions of Nigeria which are taken to protect itself from yet more colonisation.

Just as the rioting and burning carried out by Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the US in 2020 was not about fighting racism, the rioting and burning of the #EndSARS and anti-Buhari “protestors” in Nigeria is not about “police brutality”. Rather, they are false rhetorical covers for an African proxy war waged by Washington against Beijing and Moscow.[19] It is little wonder that the tactic of using violence such as burning buildings under the guise of protesting police brutality was replicated from the streets of the USA to the streets of Nigeria, as both BLM[20] and today’s anti-Buhari protestors[21] are financially backed by the OSF. Even the demand for “good governance” in Nigeria is cut and pasted from the very mission of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.[22] In short, the “pro-democracy” protests in Nigeria are not at all about what they claim themselves to be.

Twitter, the NED, the CIA, BLM, OSF, #EndSARS, #BuhariMustGo, Boko Haram, ISWAP – all of them play a role in the current push for regime change in Nigeria. To that extent, all are component parts of the US Empire itself. The key task for workers internationally is to defend Nigeria against all wings of the imperialist assault. Nigeria’s sovereign right to protect and/or develop itself via mutually beneficial partnerships with Russia and China must be upheld. Ultimately, what is required is the painstaking assembly of Marxist vanguard parties based on Permanent Revolution which can lead workers of the region towards a Socialist Federation of West Africa.

WORKERS  LEAGUE
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2021/06/04/nigeria-Nigeria-President-Muhammadu-Buhari-Twitter/4941622845081/ (16-06-2021)

[2] https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2021/06/04/buhari-govt-suspends-twitter-in-nigeria-via-twitter/ (16-06-2021)

[3] https://www.undispatch.com/samantha-power-makes-the-case-for-war/ (16-06-2021)

[4] http://saharareporters.com/2021/06/09/us-counters-trump-asks-buhari-reverse-twitter-ban (16-06-2021)

[5] https://redfireonline.com/2021/01/16/when-exactly-was-the-fascist-coup/ (16-06-2021)

[6] https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/nigeria-population/ (19-06-2021)

[7] https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalsh/2021/06/05/nigeria-has-banned-twitter—along-with-these-other-countries/?sh=7651a44f1d96 (19-06-2021)

[8] Twitter ban: Nigeria loses N24.72bn in 10 days (withinnigeria.com) (19-06-2021)

[9] Nigeria and China’s belt and road initiative – The Sun Nigeria (sunnewsonline.com) (19-06-2021)

[10] Belt and Road Initiative projects ramp up Nigeria’s favourable perception of China · Global Voices (19-06-2021)

[11] How China’s new development plan will benefit Nigeria, other African countries, by Envoy ` | The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News — Nigeria — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News (19-06-2021)

[12] NATO and the Irony of Its “Everyday Fight Against Terrorism” – Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization (19-06-2021)

[13] Nigeria Signs Military Cooperation Pact with Russia (breitbart.com) (19-06-2021)

[14] Nigeria looks to sign military cooperation deal with Russia this month | Reuters (19-06-2021)

[15] http://www.fao.org/3/cb4586en/cb4586en.pdf (19-06-2021)

[16] https://www.globalresearch.ca/intelligence-operation-in-support-of-terrorism-the-u-s-and-israel-are-behind-both-boko-haram-and-isis-president-of-sudan/5436385 (19-06-2021)

[17] A People’s Court, Live and On the Air in Nigeria – Open Society Foundations (20-06-2021)

[18] Africa – NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY (ned.org) (20-06-2021)

[19] Nigeria: Black Lives Matter Aids US Meddling in Africa | Red Fire (redfireonline.com) (20-06-2021)

[20] https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/who-is-funding-black-lives-matter-and-why-the-answer-may-shock-you/ (20-06-2021)

[21] What We Do – OSIWA (20-06-2021)

[22] Mission and Vision – OSIWA (20-06-2021)

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