The Coalition for Revolution (CORE) categorically condemns the arrest, brutalisation, and detention of Victor Anene & Larry Emmanuel at Lokoja, Kogi state on Wednesday 6th April. The two RevolutionNow activists who are members of a CORE affiliate were molested and brutalized by a ragtag body of lumpen youths who then handed them over to the police which arrested and tortured them further, for expressing their right to dissent in any part of Nigeria.
It is particularly shocking that one of the shameless youths who accosted them and ordered that they be flogged, described their coming to Kogi state as if they were undocumented migrants. Apart from the fact that CORE does not consider any migrant “illegal”, it is particularly appalling that these Nigerian citizens who live in the neighbouring Federal Capital Territory were abused for being strangers within the federal republic of Nigeria!
This Is totally unacceptable. Freedom of expression is nothing without respect for the right to dissent. The two youths were pasting “Buhari Must Go” posters. This demand is one which has found echo in the hearts of millions of Nigerians, including in Kogi state. The regime of Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and his APC government is anti-poor people and represents only a handful of superrich people in power and business.
While 70% of the Nigerian population cannot access basic health services, General Buhari continues with his annual junketing to London for medical treatment at taxpayers’ expense. The poverty rate has skyrocketed under his watch, with Nigeria now being the poverty capital of the world. The official unemployment rate has risen to 33.3% from 27.1% in just three months. This means the unemployment rate has quadrupled since the APC regime came into power. And as a recent Financial Times of Britain’s report noted “Nigeria’s graduates live ‘hand to mouth’ as job crisis worsens”.
Is it thus surprising that we demand “Buhari Must Go”? Indeed, what could seem surprising is that youths like those used to repress Victor Anene & Larry Emmanuel remain steadfast tools of the state. But we are not surprised. There will always be their likes. We still remember those youths who earnestly yearned for the continuation of General Sani Abacha’s rule of infamy.
We also realise that they are nothing but pawns of the powers that be. They are opportunists who will melt away like dross as the revolutionary fires for real change blazes. It is to the Kogi state government which has had them locked up in prison and the state machinery, including the police which has again acted as an instrument of repression, that we turn.
The Kogi state governor has a history of violent repression of opposition forces, including working-class people and youth. Thugs were mobilised to disperse health workers organising to protest the impact of his COVID-19-denialism on their health and safety. Many were wounded and their personal effects destroyed or stolen. A leader of an opposition party was also burnt alive in her home during the elections where he got “re-elected” a few years ago.
Enough is enough of this rascality and brutality! We demand the immediate release of Victor Anene & Larry Emmanuel, and restitution by the state for the brutalisation they have faced. We urge trade unions, civil society organisations, radical parties, and all other organisations of the people across the country and worldwide to join us in calling for their release and an end to the reign of state terror now descended on us in the country.
Speak out! Demand the immediate release and restitution for Victor Anene & Larry Emmanuel! We can make the world see them for the brutal oppressors they are and shame them into action. Take them up on their twitter handles: the governor Mr Yahaha Bello, @OfficialGYBKogi; the Deputy Governor Mr Edward David Onoja, @ed_onoja and the Nigeria Police Force @policeNG. You can also call or send messages to the state’s commissioner of information Mr Kingsley Fanwo (@KingsleyFanwo on twitter): +2348163376331.
We will not relent until the duo and all fighters for a better society locked up by these set of oppressors are freed.
Baba AYE Gbenga KOMOLAFE