Nigeria: International appeal for support

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) condemns the arrest and detention of six human rights and labour activists and the dispersal of a United Action for Democracy (UAD) rally by the Nigerian Police today Wednesday, 3rd December, 2003 at Yaba, Lagos.

The following appeals for support have received from the Democratic Socialist Movement, the cwi in Nigeria. cwi online.

National Secretariat:

162, Ipaja Road, Agege, Lagos.

P.O. Box 2225, Agege, Lagos. Nigeria

Tel: 01-8046603



3rd December, 2003

Free Detained Protesters Now!

International Appeal for Solidarity from Democratic Socialist Movement

Among those arrested are Bamidele Aturu, the convener of UAD; Dagga Tolar, a leading member of DSM and the editor of Socialist Democracy, the newspaper being published by the DSM; Wale Balogun, a leading member of the National Conscience Party (NCP), and three other activists whose names are not available to us at the moment. The six are presently being held at the State Police Criminal Investigation Bureau at Panti, Lagos.

Before they arrested these activists, the police had used force to disperse the rally. The arrested activists were brutalised by the policemen who hit them repeatedly with the butts of their guns.

We equally condemn the assault on several journalists who were at the venue of the rally by the police.

This vicious attacks on the democratic rights of assembly and expression by the police acting on the instructions of the Obasanjo government is a manifestation of the growing intolerance of the regime and its determination to suppress by force if necessary any opposition to its innumerable neo-liberal, IMF and World Bank-induced, anti-poor and unpopular capitalist policies of privatisation of public assets, deregulation, commercialisation of social services like education and health, retrenchment of workers, incessant hike in fuel prices, and attacks on the democratic rights of workers and the trade unions.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of these detained activists and an end to the brazen violation of the legitimate rights of the working people by the Obasanjo regime. If the police are of the view that these activists have committed any offence they should charge them to court immediately without any delay.

Finally, we in the DSM calls on the trade unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the NCP, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and labour and youth activists to begin to work for the building of a formidable mass movement of the workers, poor people and youth to oppose not only the Obasanjo regime but all the anti-poor policies and governments of the ruling class across the country.

In order to replace these pro-rich, pro-imperialist policies and governments who are the sources of endless mass poverty and misery for the overwhelming majority of the society, the working masses and their organisations must commence, as a matter of urgency, the building of an independent working people’s political alternative that will lead struggles for socialist transformation of society without which there can never be a lasting end to the endemic economic and political oppression of the working masses.

Please send letters of protest to the Nigerian embassy in your country demanding the immediate dropping of all charges against those arrested. Could you also send any letters of protest to the following email address:

Drop the Charges

Six Arrested Activists Granted Bail, Case adjourned to 16th January 2004


National Secretariat:

162, Ipaja Road, Agege, Lagos.

P.O. Box 2225, Agege, Lagos. Nigeria

Tel: 01-8046603



4th December, 2003

The six labour and human rights activists who were arrested by the Nigerian police on Wednesday 3 December at the rally organized in Lagos by the United Action for Democracy (UAD) were released on bail on Thursday.

The six were brought before a Lagos Magistrate court on Thursday morning and had three charges preferred against them by the police: unlawful assembly, disturbance of the peace and seditious publication. The magistrate decided to grant them bail and adjourned the case to 16th January, 2004.

The six activists are:

  • Bamidele Aturu (National convener of UAD)
  • Dagga Tolar (Editor of Socialist Democracy, the newspaper of Democratic
  • Socialist Movement (DSM), the Nigerian Section of the Committee for A
  • Workers International,[CWI])
  • Jossy Anuah (a member of DSM)
  • Wale Balogun (a National Conscience Party activist and the party’s
  • candidate for the chairmanship of Lagos Mainland Local Government )
  • Joel Emerole (member of Democratic Alternative)
  • Kamilu Mustapha (member of Youth Democratic Front)

The police are using the DSM newspapers which were sold at the rally as their key material evidence against the activists. In the third charge against the activists, the police accused them of having "published a seditious publication in the form of banner and article in copies of a newspaper entitled ‘Socialist Democracy’ in which you incite the public to take mass action against the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for some of its policies like hike in fuel prices, deregulation and privatisation, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 51(1)(c) of the criminal code cap 17 laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003".

The struggle to secure complete freedom for the unjustly accused activists continues. We are demanding the total withdrawal of the frivolous and undemocratic charges against them.

We call on workers, youth, human rights and pro-democracy activists, socialists, trade unions in Nigeria and internationally to demand the withdrawal of charges, an end to the repression of activists and trade unions and the wanton violation of democratic rights of assembly, association and expression by the Nigerian government.

Send protest letters to:

  • The Inspector General of Police,
    Nigeria Police Headquarters,
    Federal Capital Territory,
    Abuja, Nigeria
  • The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,
    Lagos State Ministry of Justice,
    Alausa, Ikeja,
    Lagos, Nigeria
  • Nigerian Embassies across the world

Send a copy of the letter to DSM through

Friday Foluso, for: DSM

Special financial appeal to all readers of

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December 2003