The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has frowned at the continued disrespect for human rights in Nigeria and other African countries.

The group expressed grave concerns on the attacks on civic space, and “particularly the freedom of association in several African states”.

It was also noted that many countries in the continent are finding ways to limit the rights to freedom of assembly, association, expression and access to information, even though this has been guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The group also decried the increasing spate of arrest of activists and government critics in the continent.

The group in a statement said, “A growing trend is the use of cyber-security laws to unduly limit freedom of expression and access to information, as guaranteed under the African Charter.

“In Nigeria, several journalists and civil society activists have been arrested under the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2015, for statements that were well within their rights to freedom of expression. 

"Recently, journalist and political activist, Omoyele Sowore, was charged with making statements in media interviews that were insulting to the President of Nigeria.

“Journalist, Jones Abiri, was in detention for periods of over two years, and charged under the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition and Prevention) Act because of a news report he published in the Weekly Source newspaper.

“Similar cyber-crimes laws exist and have been used to silence journalists and activists in Egypt, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.”

The group also referred to how the Internet was shut down in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the last presidential elections while voters were waiting for election results.

Similarly, the government of Chad also shut down access to all social media since March 2018.

Also in Zimbabwe, the government shutdown social media including Whatsapp and eventually completely shutdown Internet access in response to growing protests against the rise in fuel prices.

IHRDA and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights urged African government to desist from inhibiting the rights of their citizens and oppressing them whenever they exercise their rights.

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