Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Kofi Annan, Former UN Sec. General, Cautioned Jonathan Against Arresting Protest Leaders
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan helped prevail on President Goodluck Jonathan to jettison plans to have the State Security Services (SSS) arrest four leaders of the OccupyNigeria movement.
Saharareporters had revealed the president’s plot which was leaked to us by SSS operatives in Abuja. The SSS was to arrest civil rights attorney, Femi Falana, Fiery Lagos pastor, Tunde Bakare, ex-member of house of representatives, Dino Melaye and and Kaduna based activist, Shehu Sani.
Shortly after our report, Mr. Annan reportedly made a call to President Jonathan expressing grave concern about the planned crackdown on leaders of the mass protest that have swelled in Lagos, Abuja, Minna, Kano, Kaduna and other cities in recent weeks.
A source disclosed that Mr. Jonathan called off the arrest of the activists shortly after speaking with Mr. Annan. However, he insisted that labor leaders call off all street demonstrations.
It was unclear whether the decision not to arrest the protest leaders was partly responsible for Mr. Jonathan's cancellation of a presidential speech that was originally scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Nigerian time on Sunday.
Nigerian Labor Congress president Abdulwaheed Omar told the Associated Press that the NLC had canceled street rallies due to "security concerns" expressed by President Jonathan. Saharareporters learnt that the so-called security concerns had to do with the government’s original plan to target a few prominent activists for arrest.
Mr. Annan call to Jonathan is seen as a major sign that the international community might despatch him to intervene in Nigeria the same way he was called upon to mediate in Kenya's 2008 post-election violence.