ERC CONDEMNS ARREST OF LABOUR LEADERS AND ACTIVISTS CAMPAIGNING AGAINST ATTEMPT TO PRIVATISE PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OYO STATE
RELEASE THEM NOW!!!
Today Thursday 2nd June 2016, the Oyo state police command, acting on the orders of the Ajimobi-led state government, arrested and detained labour leaders and activists in Oyo state for their principled opposition to the state’s plan to sell off public secondary schools under the guise of public Private Partnership (PPP). In all seven (7) labour leaders and activists were detained following their invitation to the Oyo state police command since 10am of Thursday 2nd June 2016.
Those arrested and detained are the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Oyo state council Comrade Waheed Olojede, the NLC Deputy Chairman Comrade Sodo, the NLC state Secretary Comrade C.K Ogundeji, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) Comrade Kehinde, as well as Comrade Oseni, Comrade Mrs Adegbogu and Comrade Falade.
They were initially invited for a chat around 10 am this morning with the Oyo state police command headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan. However what started as a chat became something else as they were not allowed to leave until around 7pm in the evening when they were moved to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Iyaganku Ibadan where they are presently detained. Throughout this episode, they were denied access to their lawyers and doctor. Some of the labour leaders and activists who are on medications were prevented from getting their medication in a clear case of affront on their fundamental human rights.
These labour leaders and activists are merely being punished for leading poor working people in Oyo state on Wednesday 1st June 2016 to protest the state government’s anti-poor policy of privatization of public secondary schools in the state. While the state government has been trying to argue that it is not trying to sell public schools but merely wants to return a few schools to their former owners, this brutal clampdown on labour leaders and activists confirms that the State government has a sinister plan to abdicate its responsibility to public education just as it has abdicated its responsibility to providing for public welfare as evidenced by the state’s failure to pay workers salary as at when due.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) consider the arrest and detention as an affront on the democratic rights of citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful opposition to government policies deemed inimical to public interest. We therefore demand their immediate and unconditional release.
No doubt, the arrest and detention are attempts to intimidate and coerce the general public to accept a policy of school privatization that would completely deny the poor access to public education. This coercion and intimidation will fail. Poor and hard working Nigerians will fight hard to defend the legacy of public education bequeathed by past generations which the Ajimobi-led government in Oyo state wants to destroy.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto Michael OgundeleNational Coordinator (07033697259) National Secretary