WE encountered Mohammed Fawehinmi at a crucial point in our struggle of the working people and oppressed poor in Nigeria coordinated by the Joint Action Front (JAF) in December 30th, 2011, January 3rd, and 9th–16th 2012 mass uprising, through to the Solidarity Memorial Protest March of February 18, 2012, which was brutally repressed by the armed police and state security agents.

Comrade Aremu

We equally encountered Mohammed in the organisation of the Annual Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship since 2010 following the demise of Comrade Chief Gani Fawehinmi – a giant in the struggle of the Nigerian people for freedom and justice, whose irreparable loss to mother-earth occurred on September 6, 2009.

The suddenness of Mohammed’s demise on August 17, 2021 is as devastating to his immediate family as it is to us organisationally in both the JAF and the Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship Board (GFS). The circumstances of our organisational encounter with Mohammed were highly remarkable as to make his physical exit from us very painful, that we would have to live with the sad experience of losing an ally, friend, co-fighter, collaborator-in-struggle, and nonetheless, a humanely considerate person, who despite his condition of physical challenge, contributed his all in his association and collaboration with us organisationally for the past 11-years, though some of our members, in both aforementioned organisations, have had personal relationship and other levels of organisation relationship, with him for decades.

He exhibited comradeship and personal courage in the few organisational outings we have shared together at the level of both organisations. His association with us in JAF isn’t as Gani’s son. We never had invited him specifically to join us, we never contemplated it. He joined us on his own conviction, on his own merits and for that he deserves respect and we ought to respect persons, who demonstrated so much commitment to humanity as Mohammed.

From highly compassionate parents, Mohammed behaved, as really he was, a TRUE CHILD of Gani and Ganiat Fawehinmi and fought for the needy and the deprived in our society. Mohammed didn’t think twice when the proposal to increase the number of beneficiaries of the Annual Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship from 10 to 20, was raised with him, he was simply affirmative in his response, that “it was a challenge that must be met, even if the need for additional increase would be presented again”.

On the issue of the scholarship awards – both Mohammed and his mother – Mrs Ganiat Fawehinmi – played very commendable and supportive role in ensuring the successes of the scholarship awards held since 2010 till 2019 before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 that made impossible the holding of the scholarship exercise in 2020.

Mohammed, an amiable, warm, passionately and justly committed citizen of Nigeria, had a personality and political integrity of his own, and the fire in him came with the spirit of rebelliousness the few times he had spoken publicly or granted interviews on issues of national and humanitarian concerns.

He exhibited comradeship and personal courage in the few organisational outings we have shared together at the level of both organisations. His association with us in JAF isn’t as Gani’s son. We never had invited him specifically to join us, we never contemplated it. He joined us on his own conviction, on his own merits and for that he deserves respect and we ought to respect persons, who demonstrated so much commitment to humanity as Mohammed.

His physical effort despite all the pains he would have gone through deserved special credit. On few occasions that he was close to us, in the leadership at the barricades, he exhibited uncommon courage and we could see his physical efforts despite the fact that he suffered pains because of his condition.

He was wholeheartedly in the February 18, 2012 solidarity memorial event organised by JAF for the victims of police killings in the January 3rd and January 9th–16, 2012 mass protests. On February 18, in the procession from Yaba to Maryland, Mohammed proved his worth of commitment to the cause of the oppressed masses and the great potentials of his capacity for any feat in struggle were he to overcome his physical disability caused by a car accident over 19 years ago. He definitely on that day exhibited great solidarity in the struggle of the oppressed people.

In a statement issued by JAF on February 20, 2012 with respect to the MEMORIAL FOR MARTYRS OF FUEL PRICE HIKE STRUGGLE on the February 18 police repression of dissenting voices, we had highlighted how Mohammed was a major victim in paragraphs 3-6 as follows:

“3. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammed Abubakar should be told that the leadership of JAF deplores the despicable conduct of the Commandant of Area F Police Station in Ikeja-Lagos – ACP Noah Adesoyin, who led the murderous gang to brutalise the peaceful procession, and the reckless statement credited to Mr Jaiyeoba.

Though Mohammed’s demise is of great sadness to us, to the mother and entire family, but we owe him, we owe humanity – the present, past and the future generations – our tribute to his greatness, to his examples, and to the generality of the mass of the oppressed classes and his commitment to the struggle. Despite the physical disability and the wealth left by his father – Gani Fawehinmi – to take care of his needs throughout his life, Mohammed never allowed himself to be tempted to live for affluence or for personal vainglory, but rather chose a life of sacrifices and commitment to struggle.

“4. The IGP must know that ACP Noah was so overzealous with the use of force and consumed by criminality by the crude and cocky manner he barked orders at the junior ranking police officers to “shoot them, beat them”. He was so murderous that he called some of his men who were trying to be reasonable “beasts”.

“5. Only a drunken, heavily drugged and possessed person could have behaved the uncouth way ACP Noah Adesoyin did – a conduct demeaning and unprofessional of a high ranking officer in the Nigeria Police that has ceased in the statute book as a “force”. Where then is the service with integrity inscribed on police vehicles? Is it not a shame for the Nigeria Police to violently disrupt a peaceful and unprovoked procession of unarmed Nigerians that have marched and sang solidarity songs on the streets for more than 8 kilometres from the NLC Tejuoso-Yaba to Maryland, where the ACP Noah team blocked the main road, disrupted the procession, beat the arrested with batons and gun buts and shot teargas directly into their eyes.

“6. The conduct of ACP Noah Adesoyin deserves special reprimand. For instance when he was approached and his attention was drawn to the presence and condition of Muhammed Fawehinmi in a wheel chair and the need for him to be reasonable, he became further enraged and waved an order to his team to shell (Mrs Ganiat Fawehinmi, Muhammed Fawehinmi, Baba Kogboyinbo, Mohammed’s driver and others with more teargas.”

Though Mohammed’s demise is of great sadness to us, to the mother and entire family, but we owe him, we owe humanity – the present, past and the future generations – our tribute to his greatness, to his examples, and to the generality of the mass of the oppressed classes and his commitment to the struggle. Despite the physical disability and the wealth left by his father – Gani Fawehinmi – to take care of his needs throughout his life, Mohammed never allowed himself to be tempted to live for affluence or for personal vainglory, but rather chose a life of sacrifices and commitment to struggle.

JAF proudly salutes Gani Fawehinmi – the scion of Nigeria’s unforgettable crusader for freedom and justice in our country; for a liberated Nigeria where economic and social oppression will be conquered and freedom – economic, political, cultural and religious freedom will reign. The continuation by Mohammed Fawehinmi of commitment to freedom and System Change has endeared him to all who aspire to bring about a Nigeria where all citizens will live in a system of political, economic, religious and socio-cultural freedom and justice.

This core contribution to the present and the future generations of the Nigerian people will not be forgotten.

Adieu Mohammed! The Struggle Continues!

Comrade Aremu wrote this tribute for and on behalf the Joint Action Front (JAF) & Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship Board (GFS) – both organisations led by Comrade (Dr) Dipo Fashina as the Chairperson

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