By Adeola Tukuru
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the National Chapter of Transparency International (TI) has expressed concern that Nigeria’s civic space is repressed following Twitter ban resulting to shrink in civic space and intimidation of human rights defenders.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani said the ban was lifted just recently but Nigeria is still suffering from the consequences of the ban.
Rafsanjani while noting this at the official launch of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021 in Abuja, said on the Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2021 report, Nigeria recorded a decline with a score of 45 out of 100 from a score of 47 in 2020 and 50 in 2019 (with 0 being not free and 100 being very free).
He said the tale is further gloomy when one considers the World Press Freedom Index released in 2021 by Reporters Without Borders which describes Nigeria as “one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists.”
According to him, on this index, Nigeria also ranked worse at 120 out of 180 as against a rank of 115 in the previous index.
He said the intimidation of human rights defenders stands to be strongly condemned. “We hold that corruption enables human rights abuses and corruption thrives when human right defenders are silenced.
“Hence, the Nigerian government must retrace its step from this dangerous decline and infringement on the fundamental human rights of citizens as enshrined by the Constitution.
“Having itemized the key weaknesses that resulted in Nigeria’s decline from the 2020 CPI, we understand that as patriotic citizens it is our duty to criticize constructively,” he said.
He said the government must ensure democratic and free civic space for engagement with citizenry and the media.
According to him, the decline in freedom of expression and lack of respect for human rights should be stopped.