Nigeria: Condemn continued attacks on comrade Femi Aborisade
By Baba Aye, SWL national chairperson
January 3, 2013 -- International Socialist Tendency -- The Socialist Workers League (SWL Nigeria) is bothered by the continued attacks against Comrade Femi Aborisade (pictured), a leading member of the SWL and the editor of Socialist Worker, the League’s newspaper, who is a senior principal lecturer at the Polytechnic Ibadan. Eight armed men stormed his house on December 29, 2012. This was the second of such attacks within five weeks.
the SWL promptly wrote to the commissioner of police demanding that action be taken to safeguard Comrade Aborisade and indeed all residents within the premises of the institution. At that time, we were rather reticent and refrained from categorically declaring the attack as being political. But for similar attacks to take place barely a month after, with the armed hoodlums calling out his name and demanding that he comes out, shows that there is much more to this matter than one of armed robbery.
On both occasions, the telephone lines of the chief security officer and the control room of the security department of the Polytechnic were either unavailable or conveniently had “network problems”. This leaves room for suspicion.
We are gravely concerned by this worrisome situation and call for immediate action by the institution’s authorities and all well-meaning citizens and citizens’ organisations. An injury to one is an injury to all. We cannot afford to allow hired thugs to continue harassing patriotic citizens, or even worse, seek to maim or kill them.
We join Comrade Femi Aborisade in demanding that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) take a leading position in speaking out and setting in motion the necessary structures and mechanisms for the defence of our comrade in the face of such untoward attacks. We hold the institution’s authorities responsible for the breaches in security which allowed a repetition of the attacks, with the curious unavailability of the institution’s security department.
[Sign the petition to the inspector general of police, here. Send solidarity messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
An appeal to ASUP to act and speak out: two vicious attacks on me by gunmen within the polytechnic, within about one month
By Femi Aborisade
I wish to appeal to [the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics] ASUP that given the persistent attacks on me and my family by gunmen, ASUP, as a democratic organization to which I belong, may assist to speak out in the form of Petition and public statements directed at the IGP, Commissioner of Police and the Governor of the State.
I’m not a business man and I have never entered into business deals with anybody to suggest inter-personal acrimony. As a former Head of Department and lecturer in The Polytechnic, Ibadan, I have stood up against all manners of perceived injustice as it concerns both the academic and non-academic staff as well as students. Consistent with my well known stance against intolerance of arbitrariness and negation of due process, I have been a loyal ASUP member, defending the best interest of the institution in all aspects, including its governance. I perform my duties diligently and within ethical principles. So, with the above background, and the persistent armed attacks on me and my family in my official quarters at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, the attacks can only be political, that is, attacks based on personal opinions I have expressed either on national public issues in the media and/or opinions expressed internally on internal developments at the general meeting of my union – ASUP and at the Board of Studies, as a member of that body by virtue of being a Senior Principal Lecturer (SPL).
During the first armed attack, which took place on 22 November 2012, the armed men, numbering about five, broke the door and forcefully gained entry. They left cuts on me in the process of their attacks on me and my wife. They also took away my Ipad, laptop computer, laptop bag containing documents, cell phones, complimentary cards and cash, as well as my wife’s jewellery. They threatened to take me to the bush to kill me, adding ‘won lo lagidi’, meaning ‘they say you could be stubborn’. In my over 55 years of existence as a human being, I have used the greatest part of my conscious life stubbornly advocating and fighting for good governance based on socialist principles, in spite of cumulative years of detention and prison experiences, without trial – all based on public interest advocacy.
The second attack occurred on 29 December about or between the hours of 2.30am and 6.30am. The two security officers on duty at the security unit at the end of my quarters obviously fled for safety. Within seconds, the attackers appeared to have overpowered the two polytechnic security officers. Though the armed attackers did not break the door into pieces to gain entry unlike the first time, intermittently, they were calling my name, saying ‘Femi Jade’ meaning ‘Femi come out’. Their menacing presence was felt throughout the period stated. They were hitting objects waiting to hear scared voices or movement in order to perhaps determine my location or determine whether or not I was inside before making a move to break in. They were saying to each other, ‘He is still inside. He hasn’t gone out’. According to officials at the Security Unit of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, the two security officers on duty at the security unit at the end of my quarters, reported that the armed men who came on 29 December were about eight (8).
As soon as the attackers arrived on 29 December, I called the telephone number of the Chief Security Officer of The Polytechnic, Ibadan. The number did not go through. I called the telephone number of the Control Room of the Security Department. As soon as I told them that armed men were around attacking my family, the connection appeared lost. This experience was similar during the first attack on 22 November when I called the telephone number of the Chief Security Officer (CSO); the line rang but there was no response.
For the avoidance of any doubt, I reported the first incidence at the Sango Police station on 23 November and reported the second attack on the same day it occurred on 29 December at the same Sango Police station. The attacks now appear more political than just armed robbery.
I hope these details are adequate for you to first make a press statement and call a Congress later, as a follow up.
Find the original statement, as well as a petition to the inspector general of police, here.