July 23, 2024
Spaces for Change sues for an open civic space following the 2023 elections
Spaces for Change sues for an open civic space following the 2023 elections
– By Alison Godswill

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Spaces for Change sues for an open civic space following the 2023 elections

 

Spaces for Change|S4C has expressed concern over the shrinking civic space in Nigeria following 2023 general elections, as evidenced by the astronomical increase in cases of restrictions on civic space recorded by the Closing Spaces database.

In a statement obtained by The Daily, https://thedaily-ng.com, it stated: “The 2023 elections, like every electoral cycle since 1999, have been characterized by incidents of voter suppression, electoral violence, and attacks on press freedoms, which constitute clear violations of human rights and democracy, and indicate a systemic regression of civil rights in the country. These tensions have not abated in the days and weeks after the elections.

“News stations have been slammed with bogus fines for airing political interviews; politicians are fuelling inter-tribal tension, while there have been violent restrictions on access to justice for members of political opposition groups by security forces. In the last few weeks, the Closing Spaces Database has documented multiple arrests of journalists and media practitioners. Serious questions have also been raised about how government-led surveillance is rapidly eroding the privacy of citizens. Additionally, the framing of every social, political and ethnic discontent as treasonable felonies especially against opposition groups has surged to alarming levels never seen before.

“The deployment of spyware by government entities is a major cause for concern. Spaces for Change has been promoting the responsible deployment of spyware and surveillance technologies by governments, while upholding the fundamental human rights of individuals. Recent events have sparked widespread apprehension and fear among activists given that the potential for misuse of these technologies is very high. These flashpoints are not unanticipated. S4C’s research reports, Security Playbook on Digital Authoritarianism in Nigeria and the Civic Space in West Africa: Trends, Threats and Futures anticipated these repressive trends and issued out early warning signals to activists, governments and citizens.

“We urge the Nigerian government to respect and protect the rights of its citizens, including freedom of expression,, association and assembly. We call for an end to all forms of violence and intimidation against journalists and media houses, political opposition groups, civil society organizations, and peaceful protesters. We also call for the prompt investigation and prosecution of all those responsible for any violations of human rights and the rule of law.

“S4C stands in solidarity with the people of Nigeria who are fighting for their rights and for democracy. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support efforts to promote and protect human rights and democratic values in Nigeria.”

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