Nigerian activist arrested

Urgent appeal

Nigerian Defence Committee,
PO Box 6977, London N1 3 JN

25th September 1998



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.


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 GUARDIAN and fax: ++ 234 1 4528522
THE PUNCH and fax: ++ 234 1 4920205, 4972816
CONCORD fax: ++ 234 1 4960095
THIS DAY and fax: ++ 234 1 4937779
THE POST EXPRESS and fax: ++ 234 1 5453436

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:


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:

"Cell 2,



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.


Yemisi Ilesanmi"

Here follow the addresses of some of the Nigerian embassies:

Nigerian High Commission
27 State Circle , Box 241, Civic Square
ACT 2208, Canberra


Embassy of Nigeria
Rennweg 25, A-1030
P.O. Box 262, 1031
Embassy of Nigeria
Avenue de Tervuren 3B, 1040 Brussels
Tel: 735.40.71, 735.40.72
Nigerian High Commission
Place de Ville, Tower A Suite 2000
320 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario
Tel: 236 0521, 0522, 0523


DENMARK (This Embassy also serves the following countries SWEDEN, Finland & Norway)
Embassy of Nigeria
Box 628, 11427 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: 08/246390 (6 lines)
Embassy of Nigeria
173 Avenue Victor Hugo, Paris 16E
Tel: 704-68-65, 704-68-66, 704-68-68
Embassy of Nigeria
53 Boom-Bad
Godesberg, Goldbergwang 13, Bonn


Embassy of Nigeria
Via Orazio 14 00193, Rome
Tel: 380341-44


Embassy of Nigeria
Box 22465, 22466


Embassy of Nigeria
Avenue Frei Miguel
Contreiras 54A 10, Lisbon
Embassy of Nigeria
UL. Kachalovia 13, Moscow
Tel: 290-37 85


Embassy of Nigeria
Terra de Madrid Pits, 16 Apto
1 Plaza de Ispana 18, Madrid


Nigerian High Commission
9 Northumberland Avenue
London WC2N 5BX


Embassy of Nigeria
1333 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20003


Consulate-General of Nigeria
575 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022


Consulate-General Of Nigeria
828 Second Ave, New York, N.Y. 10017

Read more about the current situation in Nigeria

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