The Socialist Workers & Youth League demands that the army, police, secret police (SSS) and all other security forces in the country stop the undue surveillance and threat of arrest of Comrade Solomon Emiola, the Oyo State Take It Back (TIB) movement coordinator, who also doubles as Coordinator of the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) in the state.
Solomon has been a thorn in the flesh of the state government and security personnel, for his relentless commitment to fighting against all forms of oppression in Oyo state. He was a central figure in the EndSARS protests of 2020 at Ibadan and the leading light in the struggle for release of the #Oyo11 arrested in relation to that rebellion, until they were released just last month. Once again, he has been at the fore, on the barricades, in the ongoing naira swap crisis protests, at Ibadan.
On Wednesday 15 February, a team of soldiers from the Odogbo barracks, led by one Major U.K Egbo swooped on Oyo TIB activists, to disperse their protests, which has been ongoing for a week. An altercation ensued between a group of the protesters and the leader of the soldiers, during which the said Major Egbo pointed out Solomon and told him point blank that the Nigerian Army had him on their radar and will soon pick him up.
In a statement signed by Comrade Dimeji Salako for the TIB Oyo state chapter, they had cause to believe that an arrest would have been effected, but for the numbers of people present at the time. The earlier protests that started in Ibadan over the unavailability of the new naira notes were spontaneous and violent. TIB brought a sense of organisation and focus to the movement. But an ill-advised step by the security forces would have ignited violent backlash.
Emiola is no stranger to being under state surveillance. The State Security Services (SSS, which illegally describes itself as DSS) were all out to arrest him in the immediate aftermath of EndSARS. And he had to go underground for a while. The Oyo state Commissioner of Police, Mr Adebowale Williams, who had vowed that the #Oyo11 would be released only over his dead body has also been threatening Solomon with fire and brimstone, if the police lay their hands on him for disturbance of the public peace.
The TIB chapter is “watching everything closely” and has called on all “conscious and peace-loving Nigerians” and organisations to join in demanding that this witch-hunt of Emiola Solomon and TIB members in the state stops forthwith.
We thus reiterate our demand: Hands Off Solomon Emiola!
by Muda OGIDAN