Nigeria: Artist arrested for political performance piece
Performance artist Jelili Atiku was arrested on 18 January 2016 for his performance entitled ‘Aragamago Will Rid this Land off Terrorism’, which he staged on 14 January 2016 in the Ejigbo area of Oshodi-Isolo in Lagos state, reported News 24 Nigeria.
The artist and four others were arrested on a four-count charge of disturbing the peace, intimidating the public, distributing publications likely to provoke the public, and for the management of unlawful society, after a member of the Ejigbo royal family, Oba Monrofu Ojoola, complained to the police.
Atiku explained to newspaper The Nation that his performance included the distribution of pamphlets containing prayers in English and Yoruba as well as information, including internet links, concerning allegations about the monarch.
Previously, Atiku has accused the royal family of mismanaging community property and making money off public property. The artist has also written letters to several government officials about police harassment and threats on his life. He also claims that chiefs have been to his residence to warn him about his activities against the monarch.
The artist told Ventures Africa that he was detained at the Ejigbo police station on the first day, then transferred to Kirikiri Medium Security Prison on the next day and released on bail two days later on 20 January 2016. He said he is set to appear in court on 1 February 2016.
Atiku received the Prince Claus Award in 2015 for his art and contribution to the development of society and culture.
» News 24 Nigeria – 25 January 2016:
Art can land you in Kirikiri prison
» The Nation – 25 January 2016:
Artist, monarch trade words over feud
» Ventures Africa – 22 January 2016:
Jailed for art’s sake: On the unlawful arrest of Nigerian artist, Jelili Atiku
» Artsfreedom.org – 13 January 2016:
Nigeria: Singer detained for song critical of politician
» Artsfreedom.org – 21 May 2014:
Nigeria: Arrested anti-president singer freed, says ‘No regret’
» Artsfreedom.org – 1 May 2014:
Nigeria: Popular musician arrested for song against president