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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

Abuja, Nigeria - June 12, 2024


ActionAid Nigeria, a local NGO affiliated with ActionAid International, a global federation of social justice groups with a presence in over 70 countries, is issuing a second press statement on this Democracy Day.


Just hours after our initial statement celebrating democracy and calling for its protection, we witnessed a disturbing crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists. In Lagos, one of the leaders, Juwon Sanyaolu, was forcefully abducted by suspected Department of State Security (DSS) operatives, and his whereabouts remain unknown. 


In Abuja, students and activists from Activista who went out to advocate for good governance were also arrested in Gwagwalada and are currently placed in detention. 


We condemn this blatant suppression of constitutional and democratic rights, and demand:

- The immediate release of Juwon Sanyaolu and all arrested activists

- An end to the repression of peaceful protests and respect for our constitutional rights

- An investigation into the abduction and arrests, and accountability for those responsible


President Tinubu's speech today highlights the importance of democratic values, human rights, and the protection of freedom of expression and assembly. Yet, his government's actions contradict these principles. We urge the President to practice what he preaches and ensure our rights are respected.


The Nigerian Community of Activists for Good Governance which ActionAid Nigeria is part of will not be silenced. We will continue to demand justice, equality, and democracy for all Nigerians. The true meaning of this Democracy Day is not just to celebrate the past but to commit to a better future. We will hold the government accountable for their actions and ensure that democracy is not just a historical fact but a living, breathing reality.


We remember the sacrifices of pro-democracy activists, including our current president, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who fought for our democratic rights, and we will continue to honour their legacy by standing up against oppression. We will not be deterred by intimidation and violence but will persist in our struggle for a better Nigeria.


We call on all Nigerians to join us in demanding an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and the immediate release of all arrested Activista members. Together, we can build a Nigeria where democracy is not just a celebration but a way of life.



Andrew Mamedu

ActionAid Nigeria