Friday, 23 September 2016

4 Nigerians Arrested Due To Their Political Beliefs Like Nnamdi Kanu

Updated 23 September, 2016
The arrest and subsequent detention of Nnamdi Kanu the director of Radio Biafra, which agitates for the emancipation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been a source of controversy in Nigeria for close to 11 months of his detention. 

Today, September 23, Igbo people in the eastern states of Nigeria are observing a sit-at-home in protest of the continued detention. 

So far there have been no reports of violence, but pictures of locked up shops and empty roads have made their way onto social media. 

This is not the first time the arrest and detention of a Nigerian has led to protest and caused controversy in the country. 

Most of the people in the list that follows were jailed for political purposes and their release caused widespread jubilation among their followers: 

1. Fela Anikulapo Kuti
In 1984, the then Muhammadu Buhari’s government, which Fela kept vocally criticizing, jailed him on a charge of currency smuggling. However, Amnesty International and others denounced the arrest as politically motivated. 

Amnesty International waded into the matter and designated him a prisoner of conscience. 

Fela’s case was also taken up by other human rights groups. Subsequently, after 20 months, he was released from prison by General Ibrahim Babangida in 1986. 

In an interview following his release, he showed journalist his back bearing marks of several beatings he had endured while in detention. 

2. M.K.O. Abiola
Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, born on August 24, 1937 and often referred to as M. K. O. Abiola, was a popular Nigerian Yoruba businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egba clan. 

In 1994, after the June 12 annulled election, Moshood Abiola declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria. He had recently returned from a trip to win the support of the international community for his mandate. 

After declaring himself president he was declared wanted and was accused of treason and arrested on the orders of military President General Sani Abacha, who sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody. 

He was detained for four years, largely in solitary confinement with a Bible, Qur’an, and fourteen guards as companions. 

He eventually died the day he was supposed to be released in July 7, 1998. 

3. Olabisi Onabanjo
Victor Olabisi Onabanjo was the governor of Ogun state from October 1979 – December 1983, during the Nigerian Second Republic. Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state is named after him. 

In December, 1983,  when General Muhammadu Buhari took over power, he threw Onabanjo in jail for several years for his political views and vocal criticism. 

After release, he returned to journalism, publishing his Aiyekooto column in the Nigerian Tribune from 1987 to 1989. 

Onabanjo later died on April 14, 199

4. Ken Saro Wiwa
Kenule “Ken” Beeson Saro-Wiwa was born on October 10, 1941. 

He was a Nigerian writer, television producer, environmental activist, and winner of the Right Livelihood Award and the Goldman Environmental Prize. 

Ken Saro-Wiwa was a member of the Ogoni people, an ethnic minority in the Niger Delta. Due to his activism against the degradation of the land and waters of the Ogoni people by oil companies. 

In 1992, Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned for several months, without trial, by the Nigerian military government. In June 1993, Saro-Wiwa was arrested again and detained by Nigerian authorities but was released after a month. 

Saro-Wiwa  was again arrested and accused of inciting the death of 6 Ogoni chiefs. He denied the charges but was imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially convened tribunal. 

On November 10 1995, he was killed along with 8 other that came to be known as the Ogoni Nine.

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