Yesterday, Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku, poet Adeola Goloba and 4 others regained their freedom as Ejigbo Magistrate Court struck out all criminal charges instituted against them by the Nigerian Police.

#WarAgainstArt: Court strikes out the case against artist Jelili Atiku and 5 others
The performance, ” Kill Not This Country (Maanifesito II)”, enacted in Ejigbo, Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday February 5 2015. Photo by Sanni Emmanuel.

After about 4 hours of deliberations 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 2 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 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 the peace in the community
  5. That His Royal Majesty Oba Morufu Adekunle Ojoola will promote arts and culture in Ejigbo community

This is victory for artistic freedom; not only in Ejigbo or Lagos State, but the entire Nigeria. It is a progress for freedom of expression in the country. We congratulate Jelili Atiku, Adeola Goloba and other accused individuals on regaining their freedom.

#WarAgainstArt: Court strikes out the case against artist Jelili Atiku and 5 others
Jelili Atiku (In Middle wearing White) with the Arterial Network Team and His legal Team

Congratulations to every member of CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria team who has worked vigorously and tenaciously on this case. Our appreciation to all our local and international partners who have supported to this cause. We thank Artwatch Africa Team at 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,, Sabinews and all media (print, electronic and social media) for their support. We appreciate the contributions of every individual who signed the petition to drop the charges.