NIGERIA’S SECRET POLICE BRUTALISES PROTESTERS; ARRESTS MSA MEMBER IN OSOGBO
The protest today organised by the Coalition for a Revolution (CORE) was violently dispersed by men of the Nigeria’s Secret Police, known as Department of State Services (DSS), along with heavily armed military and police officers.
The protest was organised over continuous illegal detention of activists and the economic hardship pervading the country. It was also called to coincide with the one year anniversary of a similar protest organised last year under the slogan #RevolutionNow, which met even harsher reaction from the state, with the leader of the protest still kept under conditions similar to a house arrest in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja.
A member of the Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA), Dunnex Samuel, along with Adebayo Bakare and other activists, were whisked away to a location which has now been confirmed to be the DSS office in Osogbo. A similar attack on protesters was recorded separately in Lagos and Abuja, where some of the protesters were flayed before their arrest.
The violent reaction of the Buhari’s regime to peaceful protesters and critics is an indication of the regime’s fear of an imminent mass uprising over the harsh economic situation in the country. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the free fall of Nigeria’s economy, with attendant loss of jobs in both government and private establishments. The government has responded to this situation with extreme neo-liberal measures of raising stamp duties, increasing petrol pump price and has put plans in place to increase electricity tariff.
The government is sitting on a keg of gun powder. The entry of the labour movement into the emerging struggles of the oppressed people will qualitatively transform the present movement populated predominantly by young people. The labour movement itself has been engaging the government in a series of disparate warning strikes across the unions in the Nigeria’s labour organisations. This are all indications of the sharpening of class struggle in the country.
The working class struggles are yet to be centrally organised by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, and disconnected from the type of protest action today on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Osogbo and other cities. We call on the organised working class, the NLC and TUC, to provide the much needed leadership for the oppressed people of the country, with clear demands to reverse all recent and oppressive policies of the Buhari regime, fund health and education, and place the commanding sectors of the economy under the democratic control of the working people.
Read below a Press Statement of the MSA on the arrest and brutalisation of protesters across Nigeria.
PRESS STATEMENT: FREE DUNNEX SAMUEL AND OTHER ACTIVISTS ARRESTED FOR CONVERGING FOR PEACEFUL PROTESTS
The Secretariat of the Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) received an unwholesome report of the arrest of some of our members and other activists converging for a peaceful protest by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) today, 5th of August.
We are aware that Dunnex Samuel, a member of the MSA and student leader at the Obafemi Awolowo University, along with Mandate, Oguntola Sunday and other protesters were whisked away to an unknown location by the DSS in Osogbo.
In Abuja, protesters converging for a similar protest have been arrested by the score while violent force was employed to disperse other peaceful protesters, most of whom suffered serious injuries from this mindless application of force on lawful protesters. Similar reports have been received from Lagos, where protesters met the same dehumanising violence in the hands of the Police and DSS men. We condemn this attack as part of the continuous descent of the country into a brutish state of military repression. It is completely unacceptable, and we enjoin all Nigerians interested in preserving this country’s hard-earned democracy to condemn this emboldened descent into a civilian-military dictatorship.
The activists were converging for a protest called by the Coalition for a Revolution (CORE) to oppose unlawful police detention of citizens, economic hardship among other oppressive and anti-democratic tendencies of the President Buhari’s regime. It is an act of state terror, pure and simple, that these protesters were arrested for exercising their lawful rights to speak out loudly against the oppressive conditions obtainable across the country.
We demand their immediate and unconditional release. We condemn this tradition of using the DSS to repress every lawful opposition to the oppressive regime of Muhamadu Buhari. Nigerians cannot have it, as the regime is suggesting, that they are a conquered people in their own country, who cannot express their dissatisfaction, no matter how peaceful, against the daily hardship and oppression they suffer in the hands of the capitalist hordes Buhari is representing.
Once again, we call on everyone dissatisfied with the oppressive state of affairs in the country to join us in the strongest opposition to these arrests and brutalisation of peaceful protesters, and call for their immediate and unconditional release.