Activists Arrested at Osun Public Meeting
Activists Arrested at Osun Public Meeting
Intimidation Attempt Fails
Sunday, 13th October, saw an attempt, detailed below, by Aregbesola’s APC Osun State government to stifle opposition. Two activists were arrested, at gun point, at a public meeting! After protests the two activists arrested were eventually released.
However their arrest at a Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) public meeting is another warning of how governments at all levels are increasingly attempting to stifle oppositions. This follows the arrest of many SPN members at different May Day rallies this year.
Both the CDWR and the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) will continue their activities and call on Labour to defend the democratic rights of working people.
CDWR Press Statement:
Aregbesola, DSS Arrest Activists at a Public Meeting over School merger and Demolition
* CDWR Demands Immediate Release of Barrister Alfred Adegoke (State Chair of SPN) and Comrade Oladele Omokunle (member DSM)
The men of the Directorate of State Service (a.k.a SSS) have arrested Barrister Alfred Adegoke (the Osun State Chair of the Socialist-Party Nigeria) and Comrade Oladele Omokunle, member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM). The arrest was on the order of the Rauf Aregbesola-led Osun State government, over the growing opposition to the backward and neo-colonial policy of school merger and demolition; among other anti-poor policies of the government.
Activists and individuals including members of the DSM, SPN and Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) had gathered peacefully at Fakunle Comprehensive High School (one of the biggest schools in Osun State currently marked for demolition, to give way to a shopping mall!), to attend a PUBLIC MEETING called by the CDWR to democratically discuss the issue of merger and demolition of schools. This meeting was disrupted and activists harassed and violently chased away from the venue of the meeting by men of SSS. It was at this place that the two activists (Barr. Adegoke and Omokunle) were arrested by men of DSS, in a Peugeot van with registration number, LAGOS DM 117 LSD. They were violently threatened by these state goons. Prior to this time, officials and agents of the government have been harassing members of these organizations over their opposition to this policy.
The SPN, DSM and Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) have been at the forefront of opposition against anti-poor policies of the Aregbesola government, which in the real sense, are continuation of similar anti-poor policies of the previous Olagunsoye Oyinlola/PDP and Bisi Akande/AD regimes. It is unfortunate that a government that came on the back of mass movement against anti-poor, draconian and impostor government of Oyinlola/PDP has launched more anti-poor, pro-rich policies against the same people that brought it to power. It has converted the state purse to private property of politicians in power, ostensibly under fake and vague radical proclamations.
This repressive action of the Aregbesola government, rather than showing its strength, actually reflects its weakness and growing unpopularity. For the avoidance of doubt, the CDWR is not against education reform, but we will completely resist and oppose any attempt to defraud the people, and make live more unbearable for them under the guise of education reform.
We call for the immediate release of these activists of conscience. We also demand for immediate apology by the government and DSS. We against reiterate our opposition to the anti-poor policy of school merger and demolition. We condemn the demolition of Fakunle High School for building of a shopping mall. We maintain that genuine reform in education aside will involve massive investment in education and rebuilding/total renovation of all schools in the state and construction of more schools with adequate infrastructures like laboratories, libraries, etc. Genuine reform will also mean democratic debates and democratic summit by genuine elected stakeholders like teachers, students, parents and communities. These are clearly absent in Arebgesola government’s so-called reform.
These demands we shall continue to defend irrespective of repressive actions of the government that claims to be democratic.
We call on the Public to put pressure on the government and DSS to release these activists. Protest messages should be sent to:
The Directorate of State Services (DSS):
SPN Press Statement
OSUN STATE SCHOOL MERGER:
SPN Protem State Chairperson Comrade Alfred Adegoke and Comrade Omokunle Oladele Arrested at Gun Point by the SSS
Release Them Now!
Two leading activists in Osun State were today (Sunday 13 October 2013) arrested at gun point by the men of the State Security Service (SSS) while campaigning against the school merger policy of the Aregbesola government.
The duo of Comrade Alfred Adegoke, who is the protem State Chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and Coordinator of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) in the State and Comrade Oladele Omokunle (a member of both organisations), were arrested at gun point this afternoon when men of the State Security Service (SSS) swooped on activists gathered peacefully at a public meeting organized by the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) and held in the premises of the Fakunle Comprehensive High School.
We strongly protest this nascent dictatorship of Governor Aregbesola and his cabinet in their bid to force through a policy that is being widely questioned by many people in Osun State. This disruption of a peaceful public meeting is an affront and a breach on the constitutional rights to peaceful assembly. We also condemn the arrest of the two comrades as an affront on their rights to freedom of expression and association. We therefore demand their immediate and unconditional release. Otherwise, we challenge the state government to charge them to court if they had committed any offence for organizing a public meeting against an anti-poor policy.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is opposed to the school merger/reclassification policy of the Osun State government because it is a chaotic, undemocratic, ill-thought and pro-rich policy that has only helped to throw the already dilapidated public education system of Osun State into chaos and confusion. For instance, Fakunle Comprehensive High School which is one of the best schools in the State is being marked for demolition to make way for a shopping mall!
The main thrust of the Osun State government education policy is to erect some white elephant projects that can be quickly executed and used to campaign for the next election instead of addressing the more important problems of how to expand access to education, improve facilities and infrastructures in all schools, provide schools in remote villages and towns where they are seriously lacking and employ more teachers to ensure reduction in the shameful teacher/student ratio in the state.
As a working class political party prepared to offer a better alternative to the chaos and retrogression represented by the All Progressive Congress (APC) government of Aregbesola in Osun State, we have been involved in the campaigns and struggle to resist this retrogressive education policy. We believe what the education system in Osun State needs to be revived is massive injection of public funds through increase in budgetary allocation and democratic control and management of schools. If the truth must be told, the Aregbesola pro-rich government and the APC, save for some white elephant projects, are incapable of this.
This is why they are attacking, with the aid of the Police and SSS, SPN members who are resisting their anti-poor policies and building a viable political alternative to rescue the State from them.