The Socialist 12 June 2019 |
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Nigeria: Stop police harassment of Abbey and Azeez!
Socialist Party members protest outside the Nigerian embassy in London, 6.6.19, photo by Ian Pattison (Click to enlarge)
- Persecuted for the 'crime' of organising workers in a union
Ian Pattison, Socialist Party national commitee
Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky) - a member of the Socialist Party's sister organisation in Nigeria, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) - has been arrested by Nigerian police again and again and again.
He has now been arrested by the political police DSS.
In 2018, Abbey and DSM helped striking Sumal food workers win a 30% pay rise, a reduction in hours and the working week, overtime pay, more lenient sick leave, and the reinstatement of sacked employees.
The Sumal workers' victory inspired a wave of protests for better pay and conditions among other Sumal workers and at other factories in Ibadan city in Oyo state.
Abbey was the candidate for the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), set up by DSM, for Oyo governor in this year's general election.
The police meted out similar harassment to sacked Sumal worker, Azeez Arowosegbe. Scandalously, the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees back the management.
When Abbey and others met with Sumal management at the police station, Abbey, Azeez and members of DSM/SPN were not even allowed to sit! Only their lawyer was.
Sumal have accused Abbey of 'inciting' the workers against management. But it's the workers who invited Abbey to help, after the terrible role played by the union leaders.
It's clear why Abbey and Azeez have been arrested. Management want to cut off the head of the movement, and wear activists down, so the workers are forced to agree to a rotten compromise.
Sumal management even tried to bribe Abbey, which he rejected. The same can't be said for others!
DSM said: "Several cartons of biscuits were offloaded by policemen from the vehicles that had brought the Sumal Food reps" to the police station meeting. "One can only imagine how much must have exchanged hands."
The Socialist Party organised a protest outside the Nigerian embassy in London on 6 June. Officials initially refused to take our letter demanding an end to the harassment of Abbey and Azeez - denying that we even had the right to protest - but relented after pressure.
Please send messages of protest to Sumal Foods email@example.com and the Nigeria police firstname.lastname@example.org. And copies and messages of support to DSM email@example.com. Contact Nigerian embassies and high commissions to protest too.
- See 'Sumal Food Company Ibadan: Production activities crippled and management brought to its knee by protest and strike of casual workers' at socialistnigeria.org