WSF (1996): “Call For Solidarity: Writer, Unionist In Nigeria Prison”
From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 2, third quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here
The following appeal has been sent by Vicki Richman on the 18 July 1996. Vicki is linked to the National Writers Union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labour- Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL- CIO- the USA equivalent of COSATU). [Vicki Richman can be contacted by e- mail at email@example.com].
Workers Internationally are asked to step up the protests against the brutal repression in Nigeria by the military dictatorship backed by Shell Oil.
Femi Aborisade, former editor of Nigeria’s “Militant” newspaper and currently director of organisation for the opposition National Conscience Party, has been held in solitary confinement for 3 months. He has not even been allowed to attend church services which would be the only chance of contact with other people. He has not been allowed a change of clothes in the whole of that time, and is being held 2,000 kilometres from his home and not even informed if anyone is trying to visit him. He is charged with treason and faces the death penalty if found guilty.
Last week, the former vice- president of the dissolved Nigerian Labour Congress, currently General Secretary of the National Union of Textile and Garment Workers Union was arrested for criticising the erosion of trade union independence. There are reports that other labour activists in detention have castrated!
Biodun Olamosu, another supporter of Nigeria “Militant”, was hunted down like an animal. Unable to arrest him, the state forces arrested and held four of his close friends for months as bait to catch him. Biodun has now been arrested as he made contact with lawyers for the release of his friends. He is being held in atrocious conditions and is being routinely beaten and denied food.
A spokesperson for the Nigerian “Militant” in Lagos explained that from his own recent experience, the usual diet is a cupful of beans in a bowl of water dished out to about 50 prisoners. “Many prisoners simply die”, he said.
The Campaign for Independent Unions in Nigeria (CIU) is stepping up its actions against Shell. Some of Shell’s despicable activities have been exposed recently in ITV’s “World in Action” and the CIU is preparing a video to tell the world whats happening.
Appeal sheets are available from CIU (Britian) PO Box 256 London, SE 11 5the or Militant Labour .
Resolutions through trade unions etc. for the boycott of Shell are also called for by every citizen of Nigeria who hate this giant monopoly for the murderous exploitation of their country.
Send your condemnation of the barbaric treatment of labour movement activists, support for the right of trade unions to organise without interference from the State and demands for the immediate release of all political prisoners to:.
General Abacha, State House, Abuja, Nigeria, Fax 00 234 523 2138
Copies to: NCP, PO Box 114 Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria and CIU, PO Box 496, Agege, Lagos, Nigeria.
Let Shell know what you think. Write to John Drake, boss of Shell’s South Africa branch at Shell PO Box 2231 TA Shell, Cape Town, TEL (021) $08 4911, Fax (o21) 419- 2864.
Send your membership applications and copies of your resolution to Campaign for Democracy in Nigeria PO Box 176, Observation 7935 (Tel: (021) 650- 3018)
Workers Solidarity Federation urges all comrades to take a stand on this serious issue. Shell and the dictatorial Nigeria State are two sides of the same oppressive coin. They are the enemies of the workers and peasants and must by swept aside by mass struggle.