Victims of June 12 struggle demand compensation
Victims of the political struggle during the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was subsequently annulled, are demanding compensation from the Federal Government.
Some of them have since the political upheavals that trailed the annulment, been living with injuries sustained, while others were disabled or had lost relatives and loved ones during the prolonged political fracas at the height of the military rule.
These victims spoke to The Guardian yesterday at the 24th anniversary of the Epetedo declaration by Bashorun Moshood Abiola, which was organised by the Coalition for a Better Nigeria. They requested for reward and recognition by the government.
One of the victims who lost one of his legs during the struggle, SDP and NADECO youth leader, Comrade Abiodun Mustapha, described his survival during the June 12 tussle as God’s favour.
He said: “The president has done well by recognising June 12 as a day of history in Nigeria. This has given me hope that my efforts and struggle wasn’t in vain.
I led the rally that day, a lot of people died; my survival was God’s grace.
After I was shot, I was locked up by Gen. Sani Abacha twice, because they believed I was antagonising his government even with my condition.”
Mustapha commended the Federal Government for adopting June 12 as democracy day.
Although he lost a leg, he is seeking financial help from the government.
“I am a house agent and fashion designer, all I want is financial support to fund my business.”
Another victim, Comrade Akinola Orisagbemi, who is the Personal Assistant to Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of Chief MKO Abiola, said he was shot 16 times when Kudirat was killed.
He said: “Buhari has done well, the past leaders never recognised Abiola, the president has done well and I believe in him and the governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode.”
Mr. Okanlawon Toyin, known as Ockla Gogo a student of Obafemi Awolowo University during the struggle, who led a rally to protest Abiola’s unjustified death in 1999, said he was shot by the mobile police who came to disrupt the rally.
He said: “We led a peaceful rally when Abiola was killed. Mopol came to the spot of the rally and at first pretended to join us, then the next thing they started shooting at random, which led to the death of many students.
One of them is Dennis Chukwuka, and another whose leg was amputated, Abayomi Igbekoyi.
“The Mopol carried me in the pool of my blood to More Police Station, it was six hours later that I was then taken to the university teaching hospital, many students came to donate blood for me.
I have had several surgeries yet I have not enjoyed my leg till date. I have been funding my treatment myself.
I have written several letters to the government all to no avail.
My last surgery was sponsored by my classmate and I still have to go to India for treatment but I can’t afford it”.
Okanlawon lamented the pains he goes through daily and how one of his friends suggested suicide to him. He pleaded to the government to help him and his colleague Igbekoyi so they can receive intensive medical treatment.
He further stated that he never stopped fighting for the cause of humanity. He handles discrimination cases in Lagos.
He is also in charge of child abuse, defilement, and rape in Shomolu and Bariga areas. “I have given so much to the society, the government should recognise us too,” he said.