Worldwide embassy protests on Tuesday 23 October.
Release Saburi Akande Akinola, Taiwo Hassan Soweto and Olatunde Dairo now!
Two of the imprisoned
Democratic Socialist Movement
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria is appalled at the news that three student leaders of a major Nigerian university are being held in prison on trumped up charges of conspiracy to murder. They were elected by the students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, to fight against plans of the university and state authorities to commercialise and undermine education provision and to attack the students’ rights to organise and resist.
The Osun State Director of Public Prosecutions, hand in glove with the university authorities and with the fraudulently elected state government, ordered the latest arrests to try and break the union and head off campus protests agreed at a mass meeting on October 11. The authorities have closed the university and suspended a total of 13 student activists – many of who are members and supporters of the Education Rights Campaign.
Boycotts of lectures and other actions were due to start this week to demand the release of the release of the president of their union who has been held since the end of July on a whole series of similarly trumped up charges, and including conspiracy to murder the former Vice Chancellor in 2004.
Looters and thieves
Those behind this attack on the students’ democratic rights are closely linked with the looters of Nigeria’s oil wealth. They resent any money being spent on education. Their true colours have been shown in the massively rigged elections earlier this year, which in Osun state, brought Brigadier General Oyinlola of the ruling party to power. After stealing the elections, he presided over the arrest of 400 supporters of the main opposition candidate in Osun. Now Oyinlola is extending the same arbitrary repressive methods to student activists. Amongst others, European Union observers have published first hand evidence of ballot-rigging and corruption, but he and many like him across the country keep their lucrative posts.
Students and working people in Nigeria are in a daily struggle for survival while a corrupt and bloated elite continues to receive international backing. They need support from every possible quarter.
In the case of the OAU three – Saburi Akande Akinola, Taiwo Hassan Soweto and Olatunde Dairo – the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria is calling for an avalanche of protests to be sent to the authorities demanding their immediate release and the dropping of all charges against them.
Our fellow campaigners in Nigeria are calling for world-wide protest pickets and solidarity demonstrations to take place at embassies and High Commissions on Tuesday, 23 October. On that day, a mass procession is planned to go to the Court in Oshogbo where the bail application of Akinola Saburi, the students’ union president, is due to be heard.
They are also appealing desperately for funds to pay for lawyers and to sustain the student leaders as long as they are held in prison. They are conducting a postering and leafleting campaign to back up their demands for justice on the following lines:
- Release student campaigners now! Drop all charges against them.
- Re-open the OAU. Reinstate the suspended students.
- Defend public education against the privatisers and their corrupt business friends.
- For the right to organise student and workers’ unions unmolested.
- Remove the real criminals from office; for democratic control by elected representatives in the universities and in society!
Please contact us for further information and news of publicity that has been given, using the above address.
(Secretary CDWR Nigeria)
(Acting Secretary CDWRN, London)
Details for protests and donations
Protests should be sent to:
- Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) at firstname.lastname@example.org
- OAU Vice-Chancellor – email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are recommending supporters to also contact directly their local Nigerian Embassy since very often e-mails are blocked.
Please send news of pickets and copies of messages to:
- Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria
- Victor Osakwe, CDWR in Nigeria
Donations please to:
- Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria,
P.O. Box No. 44485, London SE1 OXB, England
- Or directly to:
Lloyds TSB, sort code 30-95-03, Account no. 0563697