Nigeria:Condemn Arrest of Eko John Nicholas at May Day Event

Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) 3 May 2023

Eko John Nicholas, a member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI in Nigeria), was arrested at a May Day rally, detained, and subjected to harassment and intimidation by operatives of Nigeria’s state intelligence service. The CWI condemns this anti-democratic attack. Below we republish a report and protest by the Nigerian Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) of which Eko is the coordinator for Ogun State.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemns the arrest and detention of Eko John Nicholas by the operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Monday May 1 at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta [in Ogun State, north of Lagos] during the May Day celebration.

Eko, who is the Ogun State Coordinator of CDWR and a leading member of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM – CWI in Nigeria), was arrested when he was selling the newspaper of the DSM and distributing the CDWR leaflet which calls for a new national minimum wage and an end to anti-people policies.

After the arrest, he was physically assaulted by a masked operative despite having not put up any resistance. He was taken away from the stadium to the DSS facility in Oke Mosan Abeokuta where his biodata, fingerprints and vital information such as his bank account were collected. He was detained and held incommunicado for seven hours before he was released by 6 pm. Indeed, his family members and his comrades were not aware of the arrest until after he had been released.

One of the DSS operatives, who disclosed that he knew Eko very well, accused him, during interrogation, of being a busybody who was at the May Day rally to cause problems by inciting workers and embarrassing the state governor. The paper of the DSM which Eko was selling has two articles on the plights and conditions of workers in Ogun state including the criminal non-remittance of deduction from salaries to cooperatives and pensions as well as the unjust sacking of workers at some higher institutions in the state.

It is clear that the action of the DSS is meant to put Eko on a security watch list including intrusions into his privacy and the restriction of his movements because of his activism in the defense of the rights and interests of workers and the downtrodden in Ogun State.

We call on trade unions, civil society organizations and human rights activists to openly condemn the arrest of Eko which is a brazen attack on democratic rights and demand an end to such an undemocratic act. Stifling of democratic space and suppression of fundamental rights must not be allowed to thrive without resistance.


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