Global watchdog, Amnesty International in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday launched the #TalkYourTruth campaign, saying it is to allow citizens to speak up and express their voices in the middle of the rising human rights abuses.
AI stated that it is beginning the campaign to protect the “freedom of expression in Nigeria as critics, journalists and individuals who express dissenting views face intimidation, threats and sometimes arrest by security forces.”
The AI Country Director, Osai Ojigho, stated this in her address, adding that on many occasions, Nigerian authorities respond with violence and threats to individuals and groups who express dissenting opinions.
“It is unacceptable that in Nigeria, those who exercise freedom of expression through critical opinions sometimes face threats, verbal and physical assaults, indiscriminate arrest, torture, detention and prosecution through trumped-up charges and abuse of the Cybercrimes and Anti-Terrorism Laws. Nigerians must be free to express opinions without fear,” she added.
The AI recalled the cases of Yahaya Aminu, 21, who “remains in detention following an initial death sentence imposed on him for sharing an audio considered blasphemous on Whatsapp.”
“Salihu Tanko Yakasai popularly called Dawisu was unlawfully detained by Nigeria’s secret police, the DSS for a tweet lamenting the increasing insecurity; by condemning the kidnap of over 300 schoolgirls.
“Jaafar Jaafar, an investigative journalist fled Nigeria following death threats to his life for exposing alleged corruption in government. Abubakar Idris (Dadiyata) a critic of Nigerian government was abducted by gunmen at home in Kaduna State on August 1, 2019. His whereabouts are still unknown,” the AI added.
It stated that with the launch of the #TalkYourTruth campaign, Nigerian authorities must show tangible commitment to freedom and also to “immediately and unconditionally drop frivolous charges against those who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”