Human Rights at Risk in Nigeria, Says Amnesty International

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Amnesty International has raised the alarm that human rights are at risk in Nigeria, citing intimidation of journalists and violent crackdown on protests.

The group said in a statement wednesday to mark the World Press Freedom that intimidation and harassment of journalists and bloggers, as well as violent crackdowns on peaceful protests, have shown the determination of the authorities to suppress the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Nigeria.

The organisation called on the Nigerian authorities to desist from disturbing patterns of using security agencies to silence dissenting voices.

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, stated that many Nigerians are becoming increasingly afraid of exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Amnesty International cited several cases of arbitrary arrests, and violent crackdown on protests, and urged Nigerians to rise and defend their rights.

The group cited the January 1, 2018 arrests of a blogger, Daniel Elombah and his brother Izuchukwu Elombah, who were arrested in Nnewi, Anambra state and detained unlwafully without trial for 25 days by Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) nover allegations that he published an article critical of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

Amnesty also cited the case of Tony Ezimakor, a journalist with Independent newspapers, who was detained by operatives of Directorate of State Security DSS on February 28 in connection with a story alleging that a ransom was paid to Boko Haram insurgents for the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls.

The group pointed out that Ezimakor was held in DSS custody for seven days and was only released on March 6 after several attempts to force him to name his sources.

The rights group also noted that on March 13, Musa Abdullahi Kirishi, a reporter with Daily Trust newspapers was abducted by heavily armed policemen in the premises of the National Assembly, Abuja, after the Policemen had told him that they had been given