Nigerian news website NAIJ.com has published an interview with contemporary sculptor and performance artist Jelili Atiku about his arrest following a performance entitled Aragamago Would Rid This Land off Terrorism on Thursday, January 14. He was arrested the following Sunday and held until Monday 18th. After a brief court appearance, Atiku was then held in Kirikiri prison for an additional two nights.
In the interview Atiku describes the performance which led to his arrest:
January 14 which was on Thursday, was a day I did my performance titled “Aragamago Would Rid This Land off Terrorism”. The performance was organized in the context of the campaign against terrorism. You are aware that the federal ministry of information and culture called a national call and it adopted a slogan from the American slogan that says, “See Something, Say Something”. And the action to Nigerians was to say something when they see something on terrorism. And so I used that performance to say something. But instead of concentrating on international terrorism, we prefer to talk about domestic terrorism. And because I’m presently working on the colonialisation process, I designed the performances to follow the Yoruba ritual and I had five performers with me. Two –three of them were having a white calabash, painted with white, carried on their head, with prayer book, the leaflet that I constructed as an object of performance. And we were in a procession. Each one of us had a special costume on with face unmask. With a miniature wooden sculptor. So we were in a procession. They were out the fliers, throwing it up and the audiences were picking it. So that was it.
Later in the interview, Atiku recounts the details of his arrest:
And on Sunday at about 10:45pm, about seven police officers came fully armed. Two of them were downstairs; five were in my room upstairs. They said I was under arrest, that the DPO would like to see me. And I said for what? And I asked should I call my lawyer, they said no that i cannot make a call. So I went to the station with them, I met the DPO, who did not tell me what I did; he refused to talk to me. He said they should go and lock me up. They locked me up throughout the night. So the following day, which was on monday morning I was brought out of the cell. And i met a female police officer who introduced herself as the IPO in charge of the case. And I asked her which case? She said there was a complaint by a traditional ruler.