DSM DEMANDS PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM THE DSS FOR INCESSANT HARRASSMENT OF COMRADE LANRE AROGUNDADE
Demands a Halt to all Attacks on Democratic Rights
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) condemns the arrest and harassment of comrade Lanre Arogundade at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Thursday 10 February 2022 by the Department of State Security (DSS) after his return from a professional trip to The Gambia.
Apart from being a former President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), reputable activist and media professional of high standing, Lanre Arogundade is also a foremost Socialist and a founding member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) – a working class oriented Marxist organization which fights with working people, youth and the poor for their immediate demands and stands for the abolishment of capitalism and the Socialist transformation of Nigeria. Hence, we consider his ordeal at the hands of the DSS as part and parcel of the growing incident of egregious attacks on democratic rights and targeting of activists, Socialists and journalists which have become rife under the civilian dictatorial regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The excuse given by the DSS that his ordeal was a result of mistaken identity is hard to believe. However if it is true then the most appropriate thing is for the DSS to tender an unreserved public apology to comrade Lanre Arogundade and ensure such does not repeat itself.
This is important to us because just last year, precisely on 18 August 2021, another member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), and student activist, comrade Yusuf Nurudeen Alowonle (Omomeewa) who had been facing persecution by the authorities of the Lagos State University (LASU) with the assistance of the same Department of State Security (DSS) ended up being brutally murdered at the gate of the University in suspicious circumstances by yet-to-be-apprehended assailants. Up till now, the Police authorities have failed to carry out any serious investigation into his suspicious murder.
The truth however is that this is not the first time Lanre Arogundade has experienced similar treatment at the hands of DSS agents and it is not unconnected to his views and activities as a journalist as well as Socialist and pro-worker activist. For instance, as recent as Wednesday 19 January 2022, Lanre Arogundade was a participant at the planning meeting called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the Congress secretariat at Yaba, Lagos, to map out strategies for the proposed nationwide protests against fuel subsidy removal. At this meeting, comrade Lanre spoke eloquently critiquing past betrayals of the leadership of the labour movement while advancing the appropriate methods and programmes for labour to pursue the anti-subsidy removal struggle to victory. Even though the protests did not eventually take place partly because the Federal government caved in by suspending the policy in the meantime, we are sure that Lanre’s harassment is not unconnected to such activities and interventions in the struggles of the working people and youth.
We conclude by calling on the Buhari government to halt any further harassment and attacks including digital surveillance, another name for spying, on journalists, activists and Socialists. We also demand freedom for of all those detained or are under various persecutions for political reasons. This includes Omoyele Sowore, Agba Jalingo, over 200 #EndSARS protesters as well as several journalists, bloggers and ordinary citizens.
Organising Secretary, DSM