Press Release Shrinking Civic Space: Civil Society Condemns Attacks, Clampdown, Arbitrary Arrest, Detention

Since the return of democracy in 1999 and particularly following the 2019 general elections, the citizens were very hopeful of renewed vigor in addres

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Since the return of democracy in 1999 and particularly following the 2019 general elections, the citizens were very hopeful of renewed vigor in addressing the myriad of problems bedeviling the country ranging from intensification of insecurity, the deepening of corruption, growing poverty and unemployment as well as flagrant and frequent disrespect of the rule of law. Nigerians believed that the administration which received the mandate of Nigerians for another four-year term would reciprocate the people’s goodwill and trust; and commit itself to expand the civic space and facilitating citizen’s engagement in an expanding democratic space.

We, the undersigned civil society organizations have observed with great concern and indeed, alarm, massive violation of the rights of citizens, including the right to protest, concerted attacks of media organizations, press freedom and civil society organizations:

  1. Media harassment and intimidation

The Nigerian mass media has become a regular focus of illegal attacks by the security agencies. Unlawful arrest and detention of journalists have become a growing phenomenon, and our great tradition of a free press and freedom of expression is under severe stress.

  1. Constant Harassment of Human Rights and Anti-corruption Civil Society Organizations

The Nigeria State is currently engaged in continuous attacks on human rights and anti-corruption civil society organizations and activists in the country. An instance is the unfair attack on Amnesty International Nigeria by some security agencies and unscrupulous agents using hoodlums and miscreants, threatening Amnesty International Nigeria to vacate the country. Trying to force a legal organization that has all Nigerian citizens to vacate and leave the country without an attempt by security agencies to protect their rights is unacceptable.

  1. The Unlawful ban on protest

We are gravely concerned over the unlawful statement issued by the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force threatening to prosecute the organizers of the peaceful rallies in Nigeria. There are existing provisions of law and judicial authorities recognizing the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to non-violently convene and participate in rallies, demonstration and protest marches. Fundamentally, the provision of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended that, “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons…” is sacrosanct and must be protected.

We therefore, call for restrain of arbitrary misuse of power against the citizens for a non-violent protest, demonstration to express their views.

We demand immediate release of all activists who are in detention for exercising their fundamental rights.

We call on security agencies and government officials to ensure total compliance to the rule of law as provided for in our legal system.

We also call on government to respect and allow the flourishing of civil space for meaningful contribution to democratic governance in Nigeria.

We further call on government to be more accountable and responsive to the citizenry they were elected to serve for good governance.



  1. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
  2. Centre for Democratic Research and Training (CRDDERT)
  3. Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC)
  4.  Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre)
  5. Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL)
  6. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
  7.  Partners for West Africa – Nigeria
  8.  Centre for Information Technology and Developmen (CITAD)
  1. Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP)
  2. FalanaFalana Chambers
  3. CLEEN Foundation
  4.  International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)
  5. Zero-Corruption Coalition (ZCC)
  6. Accountability Maternal New-born and Child Health in

Nigeria (AMHiN)

  1.  Partners on Electoral Reform
  2. State of the Union (SOTU)
  3. African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
  1.   National Procurement Watch Platform
  2. Say NO Campaign—Nigeria
  3. Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civil Education (CHRICED)
  1. Social Action
  2. International Press Centre
  4. Community Action for Popular Participation
  5. Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP)
  6.  Global Rights
  7. Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC}
  8. Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
  9. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
  10. Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA)
  1. Tax Justice Nigeria
  2. Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
  3. Women In Nigeria
  4. African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD)
  1. Centre for Social Justice
  3. Protest to Power
  4. Network on Police Reform in Nigeria(NOPRIN Foundation)
  5. Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre(RULAAC)
  6. Women Advocate Research And Documentation Centre
  7. Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative(WRAPA)
  1. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  2. Sesor Empowerment Foundation
  3. Dorothy Njemanze Foundation
  4. Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives (ECOWA)
  5. Hadis Foundation
  6. Education As a Vaccine Against Women
  7. Baobab for Women’s Human Rights
  8. Nigerian Feminist Forum
  9. Alliances for Africa
  10. Space for Change




Host by Constance Meju, publisher National Point Newspaper, gender and human right activist

Posted by: Auwal Musa <>