Coalition Of Civil Society Condemns Recent Harassment On Hon. Kayode Opeifa! Late Gani Fawehinmi’s Son Apologises

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Some of you must have seen the video where the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, Hon. Kayode Opeifa was harassed last week Thursday at the 4th anniversary celebration of Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi in Ikeja. A lot of individuals and human rights activists have condemned the harassment.

The human rights committee has carefully investigated the recent attack on Comrade Kayode Opeifa, the Hon. Commissioner for Transport, Lagos State at the 4th anniversary celebration of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN, SAM, held in Lagos and have come to a clear conclusion that the attack was uncalled for. There can never be any justification for the violation of individual’s rights. If Chief Gani Fawehinmi were to be alive, he would have condemned the harassment  of  Hourable. We however commend the swift condemnation of the attack by Barr. Mohammed Fawehinmi and other progressive force.

The CLO and CDHR wants to make it clear that we are taking this position based on our principles to defend and protect the rights of everybody and also to assert that the attack did not represent the position of Human Rights/Civil Society Groups. Our constituency does not separate democracy and the rule of law. Democracy is not a license for violent and impunity. Let it be very clear that Hon. Opeifa is a bonafide member of human right community and has a former chairman of Lagos State Chapter of CDHR who fought for the realization of democracy, we shall protect him against any unjustifiable attack and campaign of calumny as indeed any other Nigerian. He cannot go beyond the limitations of the State Institution of Governance as presently constituted in his quest for service to humanity. He is not the Governor of Lagos State neither is he the president of Nigeria.

Comrade Kayode Opeifa has a very clear progressive history as an activist lecturer at the Lagos State University and a former chairman of Lagos State chapter of Community for the Defense of Human Rights. He was a friend of the Late Chief Gani Fawehimi, Late Chima Ubani. He was the only cabinet member in Lagos State that came to bail out the activist when the Federal Police arrested members of Joint Action Front, Mohammed Fawehinmi and his mother, Mrs Ganiat Fawehinmi during the protest commemorate the killings of the protesters during the struggle against fuel subsidy withdrawal.

What is the rationale for spearing other Government functionaries and single out Comrade Kayode Opeifa. The likes of Comrade Ayo Adewale, Chairman Amuwo Odofin, former commissioner and legal adviser ACN, Muiz Banire, former Minister Prof. Term David West, Rep. of Government of Ekiti State and host of others.

We are not saying people don’t have rights to disagree with Comrade Kayode Opeifa but such disagreement must be carried out in a civilized manner and within the ambit of the law. Democracy is not a license for thuggery and brigandage. Democracy and the rule of law are two sides of the same coin which must be respected at all time.

We have made categorically statement that the culprits behind the assault shall not go unpunished. We shall take appropriate disciplinary method against the perpetrators. Not because Kayode Opiefa is a Commissioner but that the Human Rights committee has been misrepresented and blackmailed by frustrated elements.

We however salute the courage and sense of maturity and the spirit of comradeship demonstrated by the Hon. Commissioner for Transport, Comrade Kayode Opeifa. We thank the Nigerian press for their solidarity and their condemnation of any act of violent by any individual or group of people.

Committe For The Defence Of Human Rights
Civil Liberty Organization
National Youths Council Of Nigeria

Read the official statement by Mohammed Fawehinmi below;

“It is highly regrettable that the ugly incident at the Jabita Hotel, Ikeja, occurred. The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi fought for the masses of this great country until his death on September 5, 2009. He was an advocate of the people and adopted the non- violent stance of attack on various governments, using the instrumentality of the law to make his point.

“I was reliably informed of the violent attack on Opeifa, who was a close associate of the late Fawehinmi, the late Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti and the late Mr. Chima Ubani. It is disgusting to know that the incident was recorded and posted on Youtube.

“On behalf of the Fawehinmi family, I apologise to Opeifa, who was violently attacked with sachets of water. The act was crude and uncouth and the perpetrators acted on their own volition and without the knowledge of the Fawehinmi family.

“September 5 will always be a memorable day in remembrance of the late Fawehinmi. As much as we strive to correct the mistakes of the government, whether at state or federal level, violence will never be adopted as an option.

“I hail Opeifa’s maturity and discipline for leaving the hotel in order not to escalate the mishap. The Fawehinmi family condemns this act and would ensure that such a disgraceful incident does not occur again in future.”

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