LANRE AROGUNDADE FREED!
Nigerian socialist Lanre Arogundade has been freed following the dropping of bogus murder charges. Lanre is a leader of the Nigerian National Union of Journalists and a prominent member of the Nigerian affiliate of the CWI, the Democratic Socialist Movement.
This follows a series of attacks from the state and the enemies of the workers movement - which have included jailings and the killing of several students by "cult" organisations.
For more information on these events follow this link.
We reproduce below a message from Lanre.
You will recall that in the early morning of Sunday, 25th April, 1999, I was
arrested in my home in Alagbado area of Lagos by armed policemen from Police
CID, Iyaganku, Ibadan, in connection with a petition written to them by a
pro-government and right-wing faction within the Lagos State NUJ led by
Lawrence Ojabo, a former secretary and expelled member of the union.
In the said petition, Ojabo and co alleged that I conspired with the NUJ
national president, Mr. Ogundipe and the Oyo State chairman of the union to
kill Ms Bolade Fasasi, a former treasurer of the Lagos State council of the
union. This earned me twenty days in detention.
However, based on pressures mounted locally by Democratic Socialist Movement
(DSM) and pro-democracy groups, and internationally by the Committee for
Workers International (CWI) and its affiliates across the world, through
series of letters of protest to the Nigerian government and demos, I was
granted bail on 14th May, 1999.
At last however, yesterday, on 30th August, 1999, the Ibadan chief
magistrate court dismissed the charges of murder and conspiracy preferred
against me. The dismissal of the case was as a result of the submission of
the police prosecutor that I had no hand in the murder of Ms. Fasasi.
According to the legal advice submitted by the state Director of Public
Prosecution (DPP) and relied upon by the court in dismissing the case, "the
allegations against Arogundade raised suspicion, however, mere circumstances
of suspicion, no matter how strong cannot take the place of legal proof".
"From the facts as can be gleaned from the statements and documents in the
case file, one cannot reach the conclusion that Arogundade engineered the
deceaseds murder". "It is therefore advised that no criminal charge be
preferred against Lanre Arogundade", the DPP asserted.
My acquittal therefore confirms the fact that I was only being witch-hunted
and persecuted because of my political beliefs and activities as a
principled trade unionist, pro-democracy activist and socialist
I do not regret subscribing to these beliefs and I thank all our comrades
especially all the comrades and sections of the CWI for their unflinching
solidarity and support, morally and financially. Without your support, I
might perhaps have been silenced in the same grotesque manner as the late
environmental/minority right activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Long live workers international solidarity!
Forward to socialism.
Lagos State Council
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)
31st August, 1999.