On Tuesday, May 23, protests erupted simultaneously in Abuja and Lagos, demanding the immediate release of Seun Kuti.
Seun Kuti had been detained after voluntarily surrendering to the police following an altercation with a uniformed officer on Saturday, May 13th, at Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State. The state aims to make an example out of Seun Kuti to discourage those who resist police brutality and extortion. However, we refuse to back down.
The police authorities claimed that the officer involved in the incident was in a coma, denying him the chance to present his side of the story. It’s worth noting that Seun Kuti had already settled with the officer, apologizing and providing ₦12,000 in compensation.
The persecution and harassment Seun Kuti endured in the past 8 days were deliberate, contradicting the Nigeria Police’s own rules of engagement. We must not give up the fight against police brutality. The protests have already achieved results, as Seun Kuti was released after meeting his bail conditions.
Seun Kuti, National Chair of the Movement of the People (MOP), follows in his legendary father Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s footsteps. Fela formed MOP in 1979, and Seun reestablished it in 2020, although it remained unregistered, preventing their participation in elections.
Like his father, Seun Kuti uses his music to condemn capitalist robbery and injustice. Known for his radical views and criticism of the ruling class, police, and army, many people pay little attention to the alleged assault on the officer due to countless incidents of police brutality experienced daily by Nigerians.
His release within a short period is a victory achieved through local and international pressure. The state aimed to punish Seun Kuti and sabotage his upcoming European tours.
Comrades from various organizations, including Workers and Youth Solidarity Network (WYSN), REVOLUTION NOW, TAKE IT BACK, Movement of the People (MOP), the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), and African Action Congress (AAC), united to secure his release. We express gratitude to the dedicated lawyers who stood by him.
In one of his albums, Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang, “Police Station Na Bank, DPO na Bank Manager,” expressing years of oppression by the police and state agents. We urge all young people who have experienced police brutality to join their voices with ours and fight until we eradicate police repression.
It is vital to recognize that the police do not exist to defend ordinary people. They are accountable to their superiors and top government officials. To establish an egalitarian society with peace and justice, we must strive for socialism—a system where society’s abundant wealth is collectively owned and democratically managed for the benefit of the majority. Only then can we eliminate oppressive behavior and lead lives of freedom.
We salute every young person, comrade, and individual who joined this global campaign. Once again, we have demonstrated that we will not surrender in the battle against police brutality and repression.
“A luta continua; vitória é certa” (“The struggle continues; victory is certain”).