Union leader arrested in Nigeria
In the early hours of April 25, Lagos National Union of Journalists leader Lanre Arogundade was taken from his house by plain-clothes police. He is being held at police headquarters in the Oyo state capital, Ibadan. No charges have yet been made, but labour movement activists are convinced that this is a serious attempt by the state to silence him permanently.
In the last few weeks, as chairperson of the Lagos state council of the NUJ, Lanre has been heading a vigorous campaign against the censorship clauses which the military government wants to write into the new constitution before it hands power to an elected civilian government on May 29.
In February, Lanre was arrested then released. Now, in what labour movement activists liken to the tactics used against the outspoken Ogoni writer Ken Saro Wiwa, Lanre is being framed on a charge which carries the death sentence.
Since Lanre was re-elected to his position in August 1997, a pro-government faction within the NUJ has used state finance, as well as lethal weapons, to end Lanre's leadership of the union and to take it over using undemocratic means.
An appeal has gone out for all organisations in the international trade union, labour and human rights movements to raise their voices in protest at the arrest of Lanre Arogundade.
E-mail or fax protests to the following Nigerian newspapers:
National Concord, fax +234 1 496 0095; the Guardian, fax +234 1 452 8522, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Punch, fax +234 1 492 0205, e-mail <email@example.com>; P.M. News, e-mail <AOnanuga@aol.com>; Vanguard, e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>.