Defend Seun Kuti! | Protests in Lagos & London
Today, May 23, saw protesters in Lagos and London demanding that the persecution and political harassment of Seun Kuti ends immediately. Kuti is a famous musician, son of legendary musician Fela Kuti, and chairperson of the Nigerian Movement of People (MOP). He is an outspoken radical critic of the democratic abuses routinely carried out by Nigerian state forces against the people under successive.
By Committee for a Workers’ International reporters
Harassment and extortion, especially by the police, are daily realities for many youth, workers and poor people. In 2020 this provoked the #EndSARS mass movement – focused on one of the most hated police units – in which young people played the decisive role, shaking the government and wining a few concessions before it was before it was brutally suppressed at the Lekki toll gate shootings (see here). Kuti was a vocal supporter of this movement. The police routinely abuse their powers and the legal system to pursue political vendettas, witch-hunting government critics and political activists. They now have Kuti in their sights and are using different pretexts to victimize him (see Youth Rights Campaign statement).
The ruling capitalist class in Nigeria, like ruling classes across the world, is forced to rely more and more on repression, as its already shallow base of support in society becomes ever narrower in the face of worsening poverty and unemployment. The need to organize in defence of democratic rights and freedoms of speech, assembly, organization etc. will become increasingly important, especially in the neo-colonial world.
Activists from the #FreeSeunKuti campaign protested outside the Yaba Chief Magistrate’s court in Lagos with the support of the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), African Action Congress (AAC), the Movement of the People (MOP), Democratic Socialist Movement and others. The protest was called when Seun was meant to appear in court but the non-appearance of the magistrate meant that the hearing was postponed until May 24.
At the same time in London the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) co-organised a picket outside the Nigerian High Commission with London-based MOP activists and Pan-African Society Community Forum (PASCF) activists. The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) is committed to building solidarity and campaigning to mobilise the workers’ movement around the world in defence of activists suffering persecution.
UPDATE: This May 23 evening it was reported that Seun had been released on bail from the detention of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Lagos.