The National Association of Nigerian Students (Zone D) has given the Department of State Services till Monday, August 10 to release #RevolutionNow protesters arrested in Osun State or face mass action.
The protesters including the leader of RevolutionNow in the state, Olawale Bakare (aka Mandate), were arrested around Olaiya area of Osogbo, the state capital on Wednesday.
Kowe Odunayo Amos, Coordinator of NANS (Zone D), in a statement said the action of the DSS violates fundamental human rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
The statement reads, “The arrest, brutalization and continuous detention of peaceful protesters is condemnable; We demand the immediate release of Olawale Bakare, Abiodun Sanusi and others held at the Osun SSS facility. We find it disturbing that despite the fact that several international protocols guarantees human rights to protest, successive governments in Nigeria have not done enough in the aspect of respect for these rights.
“As a students' body, we make bold to assert that the manner in which the affairs of the country is being managed by those we reposed with the trust of making things right for us as a people is most heart-wrenching. The establishment has mobilised everything within their capacity to ensure that the people are gagged and they are neither repentant nor pretentious about it.
“Once again, the government has proven their hatred for dissent with the manner in which massive violence was meted on harmless protesters in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun and Osun two days ago. The association having studied the demands of the protesters make bold to assert that they are legitimate, many of which we have also in our capacity as an association raised in series of interventions since we came on board last year. Nigerians, especially in the North are being killed like games by rising insurgency. Rate of poverty, hopelessness and unemployment is alarming. Education and health have been completely abandoned. Corruption has taken over the entire administration, with rising foreign debt profile capable of compromising the Nation's sovereignty. Respect for democratic ideals of freedom, human dignity, rights and rule of law has been thrown to the winds. The country has been subjected to the whims of jackboot absolutism.
“These are legitimate issues raised by the RevolutionNow protesters. But, the posture of the Nigerian Government towards issues has shown that they would rather empower/embrace sycophancy than agree with those with dissent because they are not ready to be held accountable which is why there is always a clampdown on protests. But, there must never be a time when we would fail to protest in calling for improved living standard which is evidently lacking.
“It cannot be denied that the Nigerian Government has since turned deaf ears to both the Nigerian students and the general public on the quests for relief packages. This failure of Nigerian Government in guaranteeing the welfare of the people despite huge donations received from local and international bodies meant to ease the conditions of marginalized Nigerians, not to mention the hundreds of million dollars recovered Abacha loots from the United States government is most callous and irresponsible.
“It is on this note that NANS cannot but describe the character of the Nigerian ruling elite as inhumane and greedy. We therefore call for immediate reversal of the hiked pump price and aggressive implementation of relief package provisions for the Nigerian people, including our stand on 50% slash in tuition fees and upgrade of facilities at various tertiary institutions, free and qualitative public health care and provision of portable jobs for the people. It is to these end, that we demand that the government unconditionally frees the detained protesters. We warn that the leadership of the Zone would be forced to mobilize students down to the barricades should the government fail to release the protesters at the latest Monday.”