On Monday the 18th of July 2016, Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku, poet Adeola Goloba and 4 others regained their freedom as the Ejigbo Magistrate Court struck out all criminal charges instituted against them by the Nigerian Police.
After about 4 hours of deliberation at the court chamber in an attempt to explore amicable resolution initiated by the court, Magistrate J.O. Adeyemi reconvened the court session with the announcement that the two parties had reached an amicable resolution by adopting the African community dispute resolution method. The Magistrate then made the following pronouncements:
1. That the ''Kabiyesi'' Oba Morufu Adekunle Ojoola (the traditional ruler of the community and complainant) is the royal father of all indigenes of the Ejigbo community
2. That the defendants (performance artist Jelili Atiku, Adeola Goloba and 5 others) as indigenes of the community, are children of His Royal Majesty and should be accorded the dignity and honour they deserve
3. That pursuant to the above two, all criminal charges against the defendants are hereby struck out and the defendants discharged and acquitted
4. That the defendants shall work hand in hand with His Royal Majesty to pursue peace in the community
5. That His Royal Majesty Oba Morufu Adekunle Ojoola will promote arts and culture in the Ejigbo community
This is a victory for artistic freedom; not only in Ejigbo or Lagos State, but the whole of Nigeria. It shows immense progress for freedom of expression in the country. We congratulate Jelili Atiku, Adeola Goloba and others on regaining their freedom.
Congratulations to every member of the CORA-Arterial Network Nigeria team who has worked vigorously and tenaciously on this case. We also send our appreciation to all of our local and international partners who supported this cause. We thank the Artwatch Africa project team of Arterial Network, Frontline Defenders, the European Union, the International Artists Forum, the American Bar Association Human Right Centre, Freemuse, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Prince Claus Fond, The Guardian newspaper, The Punch newspaper, AFRICA IS A COUNTRY magazine, Asiri magazine, Olisa.tv, Sabinews, the Daily Independent, The Niche, Vanguard newspaper and all other media platforms (print, electronic and social media) for their support in spreading the news about the case. Finally, we appreciate the contributions of everyone who signed the petition to drop the charges.
Media and Communications Officer
CORA/ Arterial Network Nigeria
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