The Amnesty International (AI) Nigeria has lamented the increasing arrests of Nigerians over Facebook posts, noting that any attempt to gag anyone by the government is an attack on their freedom.
In a message on Twitter, the international human rights organization called on Nigerians to rise against incessant arrests based on Facebook posts.
It however did not mention the number of people that have been arrested for Facebook posts under the current administration.
“Increasingly people are being arrested for Facebook posts. This is a threat to freedom. #Nigeria. You don’t have to be a victim to identify with and support victims of injustice. #Nigeria.
“Journalists, bloggers & all citizens of Nigeria have right to FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. Any attempt to gag anyone is an attack on freedom.”
The outcry is believed to be a fallout of the arrest and detention of Danjuma Katsina, a journalist, on Saturday by the police in Katsina State over alleged “injurious comments” on a newly-elected member of House of Representatives, Mansur Mashi.
The police invited him around 8 pm and detained him after taking his statement.
On Facebook, Katsina had analysed the outcome of the Mashi/Dutsi by-election conducted in May, wondering why Mashi was allowed to contest the polls despite battling court action over alleged corruption.
In January 2017, some plain-clothes policemen arrested and whisked to Abuja, Jerry Edoho, a journalist based in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Edoho, who is the Deputy Editor of Ibom Nation Newspaper, a local publication, was arrested by the security operatives and forcibly taken to the Federal Capital over a Facebook post involving Dana Air.
He had written: “Rumor via social media (Facebook) has it that Dana Air enroute Abj-Lag with 153 passengers crashed killing all on board. Please could someone help verify the authenticity of this shocking report? Below is (the) pix from the scene as uploaded on my wall.”
In September 2016, Jonah Okah, a civil servant, was arrested in Bayelsa State over a Facebook post considered to be a criminal defamation of Ritchie Etonye, the Government House Accountant.
His arrest followed a petition to the police by Etonye over an allegation Okah levied against him on his Facebook account, which he insists is false.
In December 2016, three students of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Adeyeye Olorunfemi, Tomi Aina, Lateef Olawale, were arrested and detained by the campus security outfit for criticising the management of the university on Facebook.