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CITAD Urges FG to End Online Harassment, Detention of Nigerian Citizens

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has called on the Nigerian authorities and other stakeholders to bring to an end the continued online harassment and detention of citizens in the country.

Program Officer of CITAD, Mr. Ali Sabo, disclosed this at a press conference in Kano State.

He said that the harassment and continued detention of citizens, stemming from social media tweets, without following due process negates the principles of democracy being practiced in Nigeria, while also describing it as absolute abuse of human rights of the citizens as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).

Sabo also urged the Nigerian Government to assent the Digital Rights Bill, which will pave way for digital development and guarantee citizens’ rights and protection on the internet.

The CITAD Program Officer lamented the increased arrest of citizens by Nigerian security agencies on the order of some state governors.

“On the 11th of December, 2022, a minor named Umar Garba was arrested in Nguru Local Government Area, Yobe State over an alleged defamation of character of the Yobe State Governor, Maimala Buni. The boy was held captive by the Nigeria Police for more than two weeks without a court order or any arrest warrant. Similarly, the boy was not taken to court up to the time of his release .

“It would be recalled that another youth, a 500 level student of the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Adamu was also arrested last month over alleged defamation of character of the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari.

“Similar case had also happened in Kano State were two Tiktokers were arrested, detained and beaten for alleged defamation of character of the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. If these arrests are allowed to continue the country is going to be turned into an authoritarian one where citizens will not have the rights to express themselves online,” said Sabo.

He also urged Mr. President to ensure the speedy assent of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill as soon as it is transmitted to him, as this will bring an end to the arbitrary arrest of the citizens by security agencies.

“Civil Society Organizations should join hands to call on the Nigeria security agencies to stop the arbitrary arrest of the citizens without due process.

“CSOs should collaboratively work together for an sustained advocacy to ensure the bill is to be passed and assented by the president,” Sabo concluded.

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