Nigerian activist arrested
25th September 1998
NIGERIA'S MILITARY GOVERNMENT ARREST ACTIVISTS
On Saturday, 12th September 1998, at the opening ceremony of the NUGA games (University games) students from various campuses converged peacefully on the University of Lagos to protest against the continuing victimisation of student activists (expulsions and suspensions from courses). They were also protesting against the imposition of fees.
Present at the games was the Chief of General Staff, Rear Admiral Mike Akhigbe. He is the second in command to Abubakar himself. He personally ordered the arrest of three students, Yemisi Ilesanmi (Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU), Ponle Oloyede (president UNILAG students' union), and Sowore Omoyele (former president UNILAG students' union). While trying to seek their release two others were arrested the second day, Saint Omotaje Jericho the NANS zone D co-ordinator and Kehinde the Vice President of the UNILAG students' union.
Ponle Oloyede and Kehinde were later released. But the others are still in custody (that is the latest news we have today, 25th September) at the notorious State Investigation and intelligence Bureau, SIIB, headquarters at Panti. When they were arrested on Saturday they were first taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters where they were harassed and beaten and kept with criminals who further dealt with them.
The regime is already getting embarrassed with the case and the Chief of General Staff, Rear Admiral Mike Akhigbe, announced on television that the students had been released. This is not true, but it shows that the regime is embarrassed. It is trying to portray a "liberal" image, hoping to get more aid from the West.
Only by giving this question the biggest amount of publicity possible will it be possible to pressurise the regime into releasing these students.
The studentes were taken to court on Friday 18th September and the hearing of the case comes up again this Friday (25.9.98). Taking them to court is actually an attempt by the state to save their face and to hold them for a longer time, as they will always adjourn the case.The regime is starting a staged trial. The reason they want to delay their release is because they played leading roles in the protest.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED
As many letters from organisations and individuals are essential. We are listing below the e-mail addresses and fax numbers of some Nigerian newspapers you can write to and direct letters to:
The press in Nigeria is giving the regime support now, at least some of them, but they are all trying to flash their new acquired Internet facilities, so they may print Letters to the Editor coming from outside the country to boost their ego.
Copies of the messages should be sent to: email@example.com
MONEY IS NEEDED FOR THEIR DEFENCE!
In Britain we are launching a 'Nigerian Legal Defence Fund' to help the legal costs, etc., of those detained. They will be incurring legal costs when put on trial, and while they are in prison they also need some money. The campaign in Nigeria itself also needs financial help badly. These people are in dire straits as far as money is concerned and they need every penny we can raise in Britain.
We are appealing for donations from individuals and labour movement bodies. Cheques should be made payable to the 'Nigerian Legal Defence Fund' and sent to PO Box 6977, London N1 3JN.
The following is a note smuggled out of the detention centre:
I appreciate the efforts you are making outside. This regime must be put to shame, people must be made to understand that a military regime will always be a military regime, an aberration, whether it be an Abacha or an Abubakar regime. It must not be trusted. The DPP (department of public prosecution) and some commissioners that the students went to see on our behalf asked them if I am mad or smoke Igbo (Indian hemp), they feel that is the thing that could have given me the audacity to challenge Akhigbe and his cohorts to their faces. They have forgotten that I have Justice by my side and I shall not be cowed, broken, or intimidated, they can arrest and imprison the physical body but they cannot do the same to the spirit.
The stupid goats have already started the Omole'(OAU Vice chancellor) trend, saying we should write a letter of apology to them before we are released. Well I have told them that I'd rather die in detention than apologise to the bastards, I wish I was there to tell them to their faces.
This regime has already laid the foundation for its defeat and we use their disadvantage to our advantage. Agitation must continue and it must be intensified. I intend to sue the CGS, CP and others for assault and battery, attempted murder, defamation of character, sexual harassment, public disgrace and embarrassment. Their brutality on me was filmed by some media houses, Channels, AIT, DBN, TNT had a good picture of it on the front page of one of its editions. Please try to get those things, they are vital evidence against this regime. And try to put things in motion through a lawyer. I promised Akhigbe to his face that I will fine him and I intend to carry out that promise. We will discuss better when we meet. We shall overcome. Yours truly.
Marxist Greetings. A LUTA CONTINUA. VICTORIA ACERTA.
Here follow the addresses of some of the Nigerian embassies:
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