The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has expressed concern over what it called the unlawful arrest, detention and harassment of citizens without following due process denying the principles of democracy practiced in Nigeria as an outright abuse of the human rights of citizens as enshrined in the 1999 amended constitution.

The center’s executive director, Yunusa Zakari Ya’u, said the Nigerian government must pass the country’s digital rights bill, which will pave the way for digital development and ensure the rights and protection of citizens in Internet.

Briefing journalists through Programs Officer, Digital Rights, Ali Sabo, Ya’u called on the government and other stakeholders to end the ongoing harassment and detention of citizens online in the country.

“If passed, the digital rights bill will ensure passage of human rights that apply offline in the digital and online environment, and will also ensure due process regarding the arrest of anyone deemed to be offending. has committed a crime.

“The increase in arrests of citizens by Nigerian security agencies on the orders of some state governors. To highlight some of the examples, on December 11, 2022, a minor named Umar Garba was arrested in Nguru Local Government Area, Yobe State, for allegedly slandering the character of Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni. . The boy was held captive by Nigerian police for more than two weeks without a warrant or warrant for his arrest. Similarly, the child was not brought to trial until the time of his release.

“It should be recalled that another young man, a 500 level student of the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Adamu was also arrested last month for the alleged defamation of the character of the President’s wife, Ms. Aisha Buhari.

“A similar case also occurred in Kano State, where two TikTokers were arrested, detained and beaten for allegedly defamation of the character of Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. If these arrests are allowed to continue, the country will become an authoritarian country where citizens will not have the right to express themselves online.”

He pointed out that these arbitrary arrests of citizens are against the Nigerian constitution and the international covenant on human and individual rights.

While drawing the attention of security agencies to prevent the illegal detention of citizens and to ensure that each arrest is made with a warrant from a competent court, the center called on the president to ensure prompt approval of the Bill of Rights and Digital Liberties as soon as possible. as conveyed to you, as this will put an end to the arbitrary arrest of citizens by Nigerian security agencies

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