Victor Osakwe (Secretary CDWR Nigeria) and Alex Gounelas (Acting Secretary CDWRN, London)
18 October 2007
World-wide embassy protests on Tuesday 23 October
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.
CDWR 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:-
Please contact us for further information and news of publicity that has been given, using the above address.
DETAILS FOR PROTESTS AND DONATIONS
Protests should be sent to:
Please send news of pickets and copies of messages to:
Donations please to: