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TEXT OF ADDRESS DELIVERED BY COMRADE AYODELE AKELE, CHAIR,HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS NETWORK,HURIDEN, AT A WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANISED BY HURIDEN,OVER THE LEKKI TOLL, BRUTALISATION OF PEACEFUL PROTESTERS,JOURNALISTS,WOMEN,CHILDREN,ETC BY AGENTS OF LSG,HIKE IN LASU SCHOOL FEES – THURSDAY,22ND DECEMBER,2011.

Gentlemen of the Press, THE BEGINNING OF THE END? Let me welcome you all on behalf of members of Human Rights Defenders Network, HURIDEN, at home and in the diaspora to this crucial and emergency press conference put together by HURIDEN to join millions of well-meaning Nigerian, particularly Lagos State residents in expressing our concern and worry over the developing issues in Lagos State in the last couple of weeks particularly the imposition of unwanted toll plaza on Lagos state residents by the LASG and the attendant unprovoked attack and brutalization of peaceful protesters,journalists,children,women, passersby by its agents (LSG) including the callous hike in LASU school fees.Ladies and gentlemen as you might have been aware HURIDEN is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization,cutting across linguistic and ethnic barriers with passion and focus on and campaign against all forms of human rights abuse and violations as a key component of its work and committed to making human rights and life of dignity a reality to all peoples.It is a metamorphosis of coalition of human rights groups and activiststhat has in the past campaign vigorously and secure freedom for Chief(Dr) Ralph Uwazuruike of MASSOB,Otunba(Dr)Gani Adams and others of OPC ,AlhjiMujahidAsariDokubo of Niger Delta Volunteer Force,NDVF all self-determination activists and protagonists just to mention a few OBNOXIOUS AND INHUMAN HIKE IN FESS AT LASU So much have been said by the members of the publiceven newspaper editorial have also be in the forefront of condemning the unjust and inhuman hike in LASU school fess.In disregard to public opinions and feelings for poor student populace that constitute a large percentage of Lagos residents, tuition fees, which was previously about of N25,000, is raised to N193,750 at the Arts and Education faculties per session per student while Law students will cough out with N248,750 each. For students of Social and Management Studies would have to each pay N223,750; Communication, Transport and Engineering courses will vomit N238,750 per student and for medical students the list fess per student is put at N348,750 per session. The fees does not include of the cost of accommodation, feeding, transportation, books, emergency health care and other exigencies.In a state where the minimum wage of N18,000 is not fully paid but bastardised with distortions.over taxation, multiple taxations, with little or nothing left as take home pay, how can the children of the poor or list paid civil servants, marginalized and other oppressed strata of the society afford to pay for the education of their children? The question again is how much did Governor RajiFasholaactually pay as school fees throughout the duration of his law studentship at the University of Benin? Did he pay at all or did he ever pay up to N50,000 throughout the duration of his studies for 5years at UNIBEN including feeding, accommodation, books, transportation or has he forgotten he was an indigent student? Would Governor Fashola have the benefit of education if such impediments is placed onthe way of his poor parents by any government? IMPOSITION OF UNPOPULAR TOLL ON LAGOSIANS AND BRUTALITY OF PEACEFUL PROTESTERS As if the 500% hike in LASU fees is not enough insult on Lagosians,Governor Fashola also again dared Lagosians by imposing toll payment along Lekki corridor of Admiralityway,Lekki the only link road/access to several residential accommodation opened up and constructed by AlhajiLateefJakande. Practical implication/analysis of Governor Fshola’s assault on Lagos residents typically on bike or popular okada the ordinary man will pay N50 per one way trip giving N100 per return multiplied by 3 tolls is N300 per dayand N9,300 per month with 31days and N111,600/year.If it is one toll alone this comes to N37,200 and If his minimum wage salary is N18,000 this means he has to save his 2months salary each year to cover his transportation for the year.His family has to move around,eat,shelter and cloth and they must not fall sick!. PEOPLES’ REACTION On, December 17, 2011, residents and indigenes of the Lekki-Ajah area trooped out in their hundreds to occupy the Lekki Toll Plaza, to protest the imposition of the unpopular Lekki Toll Fee. As early as 8am, residents had come out in their large numbers, to commence the peaceful protest. They were carrying placards, distributing banners and leaflets and handbills to sensitize the neighborhood. They were very peaceful. Eye witness account said he protesters were led by Dr. AusbethAjagu and the chairman of Lekki Phase 1 Residents Association, Mr. WoleAkala, lawyer and activist, Mr. Ebun-oluAdegboruwa, retired judges, retired military men, journalists, engineers, community leaders, women leaders and youths. The protest proper commenced at about 8 am, at the Lekki Phase 1 round about. It was a wonderful and peaceful sight to behold, with some residents carrying food and mattresses as a sign of their seriousness. They got to the Admiralty Circle Plaza at about 9am, maintaining a very long distance from the toll plaza proper. The protesters were being addressed by their leaders. According to report they suddenly, noticed some Danfo buses driving in with great speed. They were discharging heavily armed thugs and political supporters, who rushed at the defenseless protesters to beat and harass the protesters. While this was going on, one Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr. Odumosu, the coordinator of Rapid Response Squad, the anti-crime outfit of the Lagos State Government, ordered the armed policemen to disperse the protesters. Suddenly, there was great pandemonium and commotion, as live tear gas canisters were shot directly into the crowd. While the protesters were running for safety, the police started to shoot live bullets into the crowd of the protesters whilst the thugs were rough handling and beating up the women and youths among them. One person was already hit by the bullet, and he lay down lifeless in his own blood. The police did not allow any offer of medical assistance to him. This can be confirm in the photographs on saharareporters.com The protesters then retreated into the Lekki Phase 1 estate, away from the express road. Some minutes later, Mr. Odumosu led the policemen to bombard the Lekki phase 1 estate and the armed policemen actually entered the estate, chasing the residents into their houses. Barrister Ebun-OluAdegborowa confirmed he and some journalists were chased to a stream inside the estate until they were able to take cover in a nearby bush. Journalists were mercilessly beaten up, their cameras seized and damaged, such as STV, NTA, Channels television and one Kate HenshawNuptal was beaten up and manhandled The latest report is that one of the protesters is dead from bullet wound of CSP OdumosuThis is one extra judicial killing too many. Therefore it is high time CSP Odumosu and his principals are brought to book. I was the arrow-head and leader of Lagos workers duringthe titanic struggle of Lagos State workers over minimum wage and better conditions of service under the tyrannical rule of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This sameHakeem Odumosu. – the head of dreaded,private killer squad of Bola Tinubu but disguised asRRS and also inherited byGov. RajiFashola,SAN,was also responsible for the repression and brutalization of workers during our peaceful protest then.It’s on record, not a pin was broken by theworkers.At the behest of Bola Tinubu police was invited to our peaceful protest.Mr. BolaTinubu ordered that we should be dealt with instantly the same way Fashola did to Lekki peaceful assembly. Live bullets were used on us and in the process a worker Adigun Popoola was killed.Several labour leaders were also arrested by Odumosuwhisked away and detained in Panti for weeks.Regrettably one of the labourleaders,a lady Mrs Lucy Effiong(still alive),thenLagos State Secretary of Nigerian Civil Service Union, lost her six month old pregnancy due to Police brutality,arrest,toture and unlawful detention at Pantialong with other labour leaders on the orders of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.Though they pretend to be friendly to the public, Lagos State Governmenthas perchance for victimization,intolerance and highhandedness.Our(Lagos workers) demand for a fair deal from government of Lagos State led to my victimization, premature and unjust sack without query along with core labour leaders in the fore front of the struggle in 2011.Bola Tinubu was the only Governor with the notorious record (not even PDP Governors) of victimizing and retrenching workers including labour leaders twice within his 8 years tenure, massacring over 40,000 jobs.Chairman of Lagos Doctors was also scapegoated and thrown out of job for leading his peers for better conditions of service, thereby making victimization and persecution the price of leadership, which to us is a perverted philosophy. After all somebody must lead!This head of Bola Tinubu’s security outfit called RRS,MrHakeem Odumosu has been in Lagos for over 15years without transfer and if ever he was, it was briefly to Yobe State and Bola Ahmed Tinubu pressed the bottom and he (Odumosu) was quickly returned back not only to Lagos State but to operational base -Alausa seat of government to do Tinubu’s,ACN,Fashola’sbidding, by a supposed Federal Government Agency, Nigeria Police, particularly Lagos State Police Command, tragically and fully pocketed by Bola Tinubu! Who is controlling the Nigeria Police, FGN,IG,Bola Tinubu,ACN or Fashola?For your information this Bola Tinubu’s RRS as inherited byFashola, extremely partisan is an assemblage of ACN thugs,loyalists,members, sympathizersand they work hand in hand in committing atrocities all over Lagos including during elections at all levels.It is high time the RRS is reconstituted in Lagos to serve genuine public interests. Right now the only ‘genuie’protest authorized by LSG is government sponsored organized protests or Tinubu’s organized protests or ACN organized protests to shed crocodile tears over Justice Ayo Salami’s victimization (as if they are not guilty of victimizing people),or to shore support for ‘Asiwaju’ over his continuous looting of Lagos State treasury,while his stooge Governor RajiFashola will be waiting to receive ‘their” protest letters.Any other protest including LASU student’s Lekkipeoples’,worker’s e.tc to express their views are marked for brutal repression. The entire LASU campus – an academic environment is under siege of armored tank, in anticipation of student’s protests over bad government policies. Is it not clear that this government of Lagos state is tending towards tyranny and despotism?We must all rise up and say no to despotism! This is why it gladdens our heart and I salute them for the solidarity demonstrated thus far the persecuted Lekki people from, the Nigeria Labour Congress,The former NBA President OllisaAgbakoba,SAN,,Barrister Femi Falana, BamideleAturu, Richard Akinnola etc.We are proud of you all, while we are waiting for Prof Wole Soyinka to find soon his lost voice on this issue. We call theNBA,progressive Nigerians,elderstates men, international communities,the Embassy of the US in Nigeria,EU counties etc to add their voice in support of the suffering Lagos residents. This is because .only a concerted effort will make this apparently recalcitrant Lagos State government and their god father to back down. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely. Having ‘won’ the 2011 election, massively manipulated with billions of looted public funds it is only natural for any Governor to be power drunk and look down on the electorates..After all you cannot cry more than the bereaved. If Lagos residents say no to a toll policy, how can you insist on such?The onlywise option is to subject such policy to a plebiscite.Was there ever public hearing on the desirability or otherwise of these controversial policies? This is a battle Fashola and his godfather cannot win in the final analysis. It is still much more honorable now to bow to the wishes and voice of the people which is the voice of God before this government is isolated by the same people that purported voted them into office! Then it willbe thebeginning of the end!! A word is enough for the wise!!! OUR DEMANDS LASU FEES HIKE 1 Call on Governor BabatundeFashola to reverse the oppressive LASU fees immediately 2 Call on Governor Fashola to immediately withdraw thearmored tank and the siege on LASU campus for a conducive learning environment. No meangful learning can take place in LASU under the present tense situation. This is also not good for our youths as they are being psychological militarized 3 Call on members of the public,stakeholders, parents,guardians,members of civil society,senior citizens,Lagos law makers at Federal and State level must support the students just demand to ensure that this oppressive fees is reversed as soon as possible 4 It will be in the interest of the students not to be violent in their agitation but to remain peace but be resolute in their demand. This government cannot be trusted not to kill at the slightest provocation and we do not want to lose any of them THE LEKKI TOLL 1 We join the NLC in the demand by calling on President Goodluck Jonathan, President, Federal Republic Of Nigeria,FGN,to set an enquiry, for immediate and comprehensive probe(not by Lagos state Government as they are culpable) of this brutalization of peaceful Lekkiprotesters, journalists, women, children and passersby on the orders of Governor BabtundeFashola that led many being injured with at list one dead.The probe should also cover the killing of a worker Adigun Popoola in similar peace workers’ protest in 2001 when Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the Governor of Lagos State We give the Federal Government 7days to set up this enquiry 2 Failure to do so we shall be left with no option than to take our case outside the shores of Nigeria and call on the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights or/and Office of UN Special Rapporteuron Human Rights abuse to investigate thecontinuous Grossand systematic human rights abuse and violations, crimes against humanity including the present and previous extra judicial killings by Lagos State Government 3 We reject any probe set up by Lagos State Government over this matter,since they are the perpetrators of this heinous crime, they cannot be the judge,the investigator or prosecutor in their case. It is a smart and desperate attempt to cover up their tracks! 4 Immediate suspension of the Toll payment until a public plebiscite is conducted by independent body as to whether Lagos Residents want the Toll 5 Immediate disbandment by FGN, of the present partisan RRS in Lagos state, made up sit tight officers,ACN thugs, sympathizers that has become a regular tool of oppression,brutalization,killing,maiming and terrorizing Lagos residents. A new RRS comprising neutral, non-partisan, dedicated office should be constituted and posted to Lagos state. 6 Immediate arrest and prosecution of CSPHaheemOdumosu the head of so called RSS, the Managing Director of LCC and any other person connected with the incident on that fateful day and over the killing of a worker Adigun Popoola in peaceful workers protest in 2001 7 Investigation of the role of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, grand commander’ RSS in the mayhem,the incumbent governor of Lagos state, RajiFashola for prosecution (after living office) over crimes against humanity and systematic human rights abuse and violation in the mayhem 8 Arrest and prosecution of Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the killing of a worker, Adigun Popoola in a peacefulprotest over minimum wage in 2001,when he was the Governor of Lagos State 9 Total ban on the use of Black Maria to’ pack’ innocent peaceful protesters.Poor market women, okadaridders,pure water sellersetc! It is dehumanizing! Black Maria should be carry hardened criminals, treasury looters and corrupt politicians who can also be classified as terrorists 10 Immediate withdrawal of the police siege and armored tank along the controversial Toll area for the restoration of peace and tranquility that has hitherto prevailed so that can go about their normal duty without fear molestation 11 Unreserved apology by Governor BabatundeFasholato Lagos residents,the victims and their family for the embarrassment 12 Compensation and full medical attention for all those wounded at the expense of Lagos State Government 13 Adequate compensation by Lagos State government for the family of the bereaved including responsibility to the dependents including Adigun Popoola’sdependents Never again shall this barbarism, crude and naked use of power and abuse of office reminiscent of dark days of military dictatorship rare its ugly head again in Lagos State or any part of Nigeria for that matter Thanks for your attention Comrade Ayodele AkeleChair, HURIDEN, 08023276709 Email:huriden33@yahoo.com

About socialistworkersbulletin

a bi-weekly publication of the Socialist Workers League, in the traditions of International Socialism. we stand for revolution from below! and our call is: workers & youths! unite & fight!

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One thought on “TEXT OF ADDRESS DELIVERED BY COMRADE AYODELE AKELE, CHAIR,HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS NETWORK,HURIDEN, AT A WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANISED BY HURIDEN,OVER THE LEKKI TOLL, BRUTALISATION OF PEACEFUL PROTESTERS,JOURNALISTS,WOMEN,CHILDREN,ETC BY AGENTS OF LSG,HIKE IN LASU SCHOOL FEES – THURSDAY,22ND DECEMBER,2011.

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