Group accuses FG of plot to kill free speech

November 4, 2019

An advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), on Monday warned the federal government to desist from its sinister plot to undermine freedom of speech under the guise of attempting to regulate the social media.

HURIWA was of the view that the series of media campaigns of calumny and persistent demonization of the social media by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture,  hiding under the nebulous pursuit of defending the so-called national security interests of Nigeria,  is clearly an undemocratic initiative that reflects an act of coup to whittle down the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms, amongst which is the freedom to freely express opinions by citizens within the bounds of the law. The group wondered why the Minister of Information is wasting public funds waging war against free speech and the Social media when it is clear that the nation already have more than enough legal frameworks regulating the use of social media, including the Cyber crimes Prevention Act which was signed into law in 2015. 

HURIWA, therefore, demanded the immediate release of the publisher of Saharareporters and Convener of RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele SOWORE, and his supporters in the detention of the DSS. The group noted that persecuted for attempting to ventilate their indignation over the bad state of governance of Nigeria. “The continuous detention of these journalists and activists and their illegal persecution in the past three months, now, paints Nigeria as a banana republic and a laughing stock of the World.

“It is shameful that the government can lock up activists and journalists only for expressing dissenting views and the President still globe trots in the name of a civilian President of a constitutional democracy… These Nigerians should be freed and allowed to freely express their opinions within the bounds of the law as provided for under the relevant provisions that protect Free Speech.

“Now, the media practitioners and activists face deadly threats from the Central government and their intolerant and primitive supporters,” the group declared.

HURIWA said there was, indeed, no need for the Nigerian government to bother Nigerians with persistent threats to undermine their freedom of speech since the social media platforms are already self regulated.

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