Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Comrades Regain Conditional Freedom

Detained OAU Student Activists:

Comrades Regain Conditional Freedom

By Peluola Adewale, DSM, Lagos

Two of detained student leaders of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Olatunde Dairo, the Public Relations Officer of Students Union and Taiwo Hassan Soweto, Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign were released from the prison late yesterday (February 21) after their bail conditions had been met earlier in the day. Before regaining their freedom, the student leaders who are members of the Democratic Socialist Movement had been arrested and detained since October 11, 2007.

However, it is not yet uhuru as the President of the OAU Students Union, Akinola Saburi, is still in the detention. The hearing on the variation of the stringent bail conditions granted him in November 30, could not take place on the scheduled February 12 due to the then judicial workers strike. His lawyers stated that a new date would be picked next week for the hearing. Saburi has been arrested and detained since July 31, 2007.

These student leaders were incarcerated for leading students in struggle for improved leaving and learning conditions and right to independent unionism.

While the conditional student freedom for Soweto and Dairo calls for celebration, we cannot rest on our oars until the “last man standing”, Saburi, is released and all the trumped-up charges are dropped.

It would be recalled that these comrades had been earlier granted bail in December 14, but the conditions was too stringent to be met. They were asked to produce senior lecturers from their departments as sureties. The lawyers, who are also DSM comrades, therefore, applied for variation of the bail conditions.

It should be also recalled that the struggle to free the detained student leaders has witnessed a series of protests locally and internationally. The Magistrate himself had once, at a court session, mentioned reading the reports of the protests in newspapers and on Internet.

We therefore thank all comrades, organisations and CWI sections that intervened in the campaign for their release materially and through series of protests.

We demand the immediate release of Saburi, dropping of all the trumped-charges and reinstatement of all 14 politically victimised student leaders who have been unjustly suspended from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.