“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” – Wole Soyinka Lagos, Tuesday, June 8, 2021: We are leaders of civil society organisations that work on governance, corruption, elections, digital rights & inclusion, women’s rights and journalism in Nigeria
We strongly support statements released by various civil society organisations and other stakeholders, condemning the suspension of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria, as this represents a continued assault on the civic space and anti-democratic clampdown on free speech.
We are also aware of the statement credited to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, threatening to arrest anyone who continues to tweet after the announced suspension.
We, therefore, wish to categorically say that we, as individuals, and our organisations, do not know any law that the act of sharing information breaks, and will continue to use Twitter, other social media platforms, and other media channels, to share information and engage with citizens.
We note that Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) makes it impossible to convict any person for a criminal offence if that offence is not defined and its penalty not prescribed in a written law. On the power of Section 36(12) which protects a fundamental human right, we therefore note and state unequivocally that the Attorney General’s statement threatening to prosecute citizens using Twitter contravenes the Constitution and is a violation of human rights and an utter abuse of power.
We stand with Nigerians who continue to exercise their fundamental human rights, especially as we will be celebrating Democracy Day on Saturday, June 12.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
‘Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, EiE Nigeria
Adebayo Raphael, Centre for Liberty
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Cheta Nwanze (@chxta)
Chioma Agwuegbo, TechHerNG
Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution
Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programs, Yiaga Africa
Deaf Women Aloud Initiative (DWAI)
Dorothy Njemanze, Executive Director, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)
Edetean Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda
Hamzat Lawal, Connected Development [CODE] / Follow The Money
Joshua Olufemi, Founder, Dataphyte
Idayat Hassan, Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
Kolawole Oluwadare, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development (LIRAD)
Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA)
Nelson Olanipekun, Citizen Gavel
Olabukunola Williams, Executive Director, Education as a Vaccine
Oluwatosin Alagbe, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism
Raising New Voices Initiative
Seun Onigbinde, Director, BudgIT
Udy Akpan, Executive Director, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF)
Y.Z Y’au, Executive Director, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)