SUMAL FOOD WORKERS’S STRUGGLE: Abbey Trotsky to be reappear in Court
Court hearings scheduled for May 24th and June 12th 2023
CDWR solicits for more local and international solidarity including financial support!
By Yusuf Salaudeen CDWR, Oyo State
Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye, also known as Abbey Trotsky, is the Oyo State Coordinator of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) – a campaign platform of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and also doubles as the acting National Chair of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN). Abbey Trotsky has been under state persecution since 2019. This is as a result of the support and solidarity given by members of the Oyo State Chapter of CDWR to the protest and strike embarked upon by contract/casual workers of Sumal Food Limited Ibadan on 2nd and 3rd October 2018.
He suffered over three weeks of repeated harassments which include arrests and detentions by the police and State Secret Service known as the DSS. He was arrested 8 times by the police and DSS and later forced to report weekly at the office of the AIG Zone 11 in Osogbo, Osun State. He was first arraigned in court on 7 June 2019 with trumped-up four-count criminal charge. The case has been presided over by five different magistrates and adjourned not fewer than 17 times with over seven different arraignments. The matter is scheduled to come up on the 14th June, 2023 at Court 6 of the Magistrate Court Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The other matter, whose next adjourned date is 24th May, 2023, is the remaining civil matter out of the two instituted against Abbey at the National Industrial Court (NIC) Ibadan. It was instituted by over 20 outsourcing companies whose business is the indecent labour practice of recruiting workers under a casual or contract employment condition for virtually all the leading factories in Oyo State. The other one, which was instituted by Sumal Food Limited in collaboration with the right wing/reactionary leadership of National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employee, (NUFBTE) was recently settled out of court.
It is important to state that the outsourcing companies also made a move to settle out of court. But this was later withdrawn following Abbey’s refusal to agree to their proposal for the discontinuation of the CDWR campaign against casualization and indecent labour practices in the state. This clause was unsuccessfully smuggled in after the initial terms of settlement had already been exchanged and signed by both parties but awaiting the affirmation of the court. Clearly, their motive is to hold down the CDWR from its intervention and campaign over conditions and plights of workers in Oyo state and throughout the country. It is also the reason the police are yet to drop the trumped-up criminal charges against Abbey something which is a ploy to criminalize solidarity action in support of exploited workers.
Going by this background, it is obvious that the struggle is far from being over. Therefore, we appeal for continued support and solidarity of trade union, youths, left groups and civil society organizations nationally and internationally against the state persecution of Abbey and for CDWR’s campaign against casualization, all forms of indecent labour practices and slave-like conditions.