Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

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3 December 2003

National Secretariat:

162, Ipaja Road, Agege, Lagos.

P.O. Box 2225, Agege, Lagos. Nigeria

Tel: 01-8046603

E-mail: dsmcentre@hotmail.com

Website: www.socialistnigeria.org

 

3rd December, 2003

Free Detained Protesters Now!

International Appeal for Solidarity from Democratic Socialist Movement

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) condemns the arrest and detention of six human rights and labour activists and the dispersal of a United Action for Democracy (UAD) rally by the Nigerian Police today Wednesday, 3rd December, 2003 at Yaba, Lagos.

Among those arrested are Bamidele Aturu, the convener of UAD; Dagga Tolar, a leading member of DSM and the editor of Socialist Democracy, the newspaper being published by the DSM; Wale Balogun, a leading member of the National Conscience Party (NCP), and three other activists whose names are not available to us at the moment. The six are presently being held at the State Police Criminal Investigation Bureau at Panti, Lagos.

Before they arrested these activists, the police had used force to disperse the rally. The arrested activists were brutalised by the policemen who hit them repeatedly with the butts of their guns.

We equally condemn the assault on several journalists who were at the venue of the rally by the police.

This vicious attacks on the democratic rights of assembly and expression by the police acting on the instructions of the Obasanjo government is a manifestation of the growing intolerance of the regime and its determination to suppress by force if necessary any opposition to its innumerable neo-liberal, IMF and World Bank-induced, anti-poor and unpopular capitalist policies of privatisation of public assets, deregulation, commercialisation of social services like education and health, retrenchment of workers, incessant hike in fuel prices, and attacks on the democratic rights of workers and the trade unions.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of these detained activists and an end to the brazen violation of the legitimate rights of the working people by the Obasanjo regime. If the police are of the view that these activists have committed any offence they should charge them to court immediately without any delay.

Finally, we in the DSM calls on the trade unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the NCP, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and labour and youth activists to begin to work for the building of a formidable mass movement of the workers, poor people and youth to oppose not only the Obasanjo regime but all the anti-poor policies and governments of the ruling class across the country.

In order to replace these pro-rich, pro-imperialist policies and governments who are the sources of endless mass poverty and misery for the overwhelming majority of the society, the working masses and their organisations must commence, as a matter of urgency, the building of an independent working people's political alternative that will lead struggles for socialist transformation of society without which there can never be a lasting end to the endemic economic and political oppression of the working masses.

Please send letters of protest to the Nigerian embassy in your country demanding the immediate dropping of all charges against those arrested. Could you also send any letters of protest to the following email address: dsmcentre@hotmail.com

 

 

 

Segun Sango

General Secretary, DSM