U.S. Congressional Senator Robert Menedez wrote to the Head of Mission, Federal Republic of Nigeria Embassy, Ambassador Sylvanus Nsofor, expressing deep concern over the media and civic space clampdown in Nigeria.
They noted a number of alarming reports about Nigeria’s security operatives assaulting reporters, using force on non-violent protesters, and taking other acts against the citizens that prevent them from expressing their fundamental human rights in the country.
“We write to express our strong concern over closing media and civic space in Nigeria.
“There have been a lot of troubling reports about Nigerian security services assaulting and detaining journalists using excessive force on non-violent protesters and taking other actions that inhibit freedom of expression, and otherwise prevent Nigerians from fully exercising their fundamental constitutional rights.”
Congress also denounced the illegal detention of activists and journalists such as Omoyele Sowore, Jones Abiri, Kofi Bartels, who speak about politically sensitive topics such as bribery and insecurity. Some of these protesters were severely tortured at some point and yet nothing was done to stop the crackdown.
Recall that the SSS arrested Omoyele Sowore on August 3 for organizing a demonstration popularized with the hashtag #RevolutionNow on October 18 for the second time. The SSS failed to comply with a prior bail issued to the defendant on September 24. He stood trial on seven charges of traitorous crime, theft, cyberstalking, insulting President Buhari.
Therefore, the Senator urged the Ambassador to ensure that the rights and freedoms inherent in the Constitution are properly protected for every citizen and to take action against the closure of the country’s press and civic space.
“The right of the citizens must be respected without threats of government reprisal”, he said.
copy of the petition letter: