THEY HARASS TRADERS AND LOOT THEIR WARES
ACN MUST CALL ITS POLITICAL THUGS TO ORDER
Members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) were on Saturday June 22 harassed at Oshodi while distributing leaflets that are critical to the anti-poor policies of the ACN government in Lagos as well as the misrule of other political parties, particularly PDP.
As with the tradition of SPN, we go from one location to another to distribute leaflets and interact with people with our Manifesto and Constitution and Socialist Democracy, a bi-monthly newspaper of the Democratic Socialist Party known as Socialist Democracy. After an hour we had set the stall, officials of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) became angry having discovered that the materials we were circulating were critical of ACN and Lagos state government. They claimed we were supposed to get permit from Lagos State Government before setting up a stall and sharing the leaflets; but we argued otherwise. They ordered us to leave and threatened to disrupt our stall. Good enough, we had already started rounding off the activities when they came. Otherwise, we would have called their bluff and waited for their worst. We however still challenged their authority to prevent circulation of leaflets in Oshodi or elsewhere in Lagos.
Interestingly, before we closed the stall, we just observed the KAI operatives dashing away from us. It was while leaving we discovered that the operatives had to leave us for a more lucrative prey. We saw the officials hurling loaves of bread under the table of a newspaper vendor. They had apparently pounced on a bread hawker or stall. It was a sigh of pity for the poor victims, though not a shocking scene to the people around. The KAI operatives under the cover of enforcement of some obnoxious, anti-poor environmental law harass traders and loot goods on a daily basis.
KAI is an agency set up by the former Governor of Lagos State Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2003. The idea behind it is to have a platform that can accommodate ACN thugs used in election period. In between elections, KAI operatives harass poor traders and hawkers and confiscate their wares, which are shared amongst themselves. It is a case of the Lagos State Government recruiting the poorest in the society and setting them against other poor people.
No doubt the activities of KAI have become more vicious, authoritarian and criminal in the last 6 years. All kinds of crudity and absurdity are embedded in KAI activities. They embark on forceful arrest and sometimes subject their victims to crude and undemocratic trials. For instance, poor traders, hawkers and beggars are usually arraigned before a mobile court for trial without fair trial and they are instantaneously sentenced to prison or they are fined. In this charade that takes place every day on the streets of Lagos, those arrested and tried under this kangaroo court system are never given opportunity to defend themselves or prepare their defense before they are summarily sentenced. This shows how crude, undemocratic and anti-poor the Fashola-led ACN government is despite its pretenses, tokenism and grandstanding.
These KAI operatives don’t restrict their activities to stealing and hooliganism, they also kill. As reported in PM newspaper of January 20, 2012, 2 KAI officials (Taiwo Fashola, 52 and Musiliu Ismaila 45) and others were alleged to have killed one 24-year old Okaja Ahamefula, a street trader on 28 August, 2011.
The SPN is demanding an end to the harassment and attacks of innocent poor people and their undemocratic and crude arraignment before a black market court. We are equally also demanding the scrapping of KAI operation in Lagos.
Lagos State Protem Chairman