Thursday, 20 December 2012



The Joint Action Front (JAF) condemns the arrest and detention of five members of the organization on Wednesday December 19, 2012 by the police at the behest of the Lagos state government. Those arrested were Dr. Dipo Fashina, National Chair, JAF, Abiodun Aremu National Secretary, JAF, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, Oloyode Usman and Segun Oladunni. 

The activists were later released after they had been detained for about six hours at the Lagos state police command Ikeja. They were asked to report back at the command on Thursday December 20.

The arrest was tantamount to kidnap as the activists were arrested in their car on Yaba-Ojuelegba Road after they had left the Lagos Secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) where the peaceful mass protest march organized by JAF in solidarity with okada riders had been formally rounded-off.

It should be recalled that JAF has since Monday December 10 flagged off a series of mass actions to protest the Schedule 2 of the new Lagos traffic law which unleashes brutal attack on livelihood of Okada riders. This anti-poor provision bans the operation of okada riders in 475 roads and restricts their operation to between 6am and 8pm. The action was also to protest the brutality and extortion of okada riders by the police and other government agencies under the guise of the enforcement of the law.

JAF and okada riders have demanded dedication of a special lane for okada operation, stop to the brutality and extra-judiciary repression of Okada workers  and the release of illegally motorcycles impounded and adequate compensation for those destroyed.

The attack on Okada riders is part of the repressive and anti-poor policies and vicious conducts of the Babatunde Fashola government against the poor in Lagos state.  We recall that different sections of the poor in the state daily bear the brunt of cruelty and crudeness which is the thrust of the Lagos state government.

For instance, the children of the poor have been denied access to Lagos state university with outrageous fees, the use of tokunboh (imported used cars) for taxi operation has been banned while many residents of Makoko have been rendered homeless.

JAF holds that the descent to undemocratic and unconstitutional method by the Lagos state government, which incidentally prides itself as progressive, or by any other state government or the federal government will not deter JAF from continuing its actions against the unjust Lagos Road Traffic Law and its solidarity with okada  riders and other sections of the working people  across the country.

We shall resume the mass action against the anti-poor law and police brutality of okada riders soonest.

We appreciate the intervention of legal practitioners who came to the police command to challenge the unlawful arrest and detention of JAF activists and  demanded their release

Dipo Fashina                                                                     Abiodun Aremu
National Chair                                                                                         National Secretary

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