Arrest of Abubakar Usman Sidiq A Threat To Free Speech, Says LEPAN, Nigeria’s Foremost Youth Group

Arrest of a Political blogger, Mr. Abubakar Usman Sidiq by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has continue to elicit reactions from several young Nigerians.

According to the Financial Crimes Commission, the blogger was arrested for offences bordering on cyber stalking. Mr. Usman, a blogger known for his strong pro-APC views, was whisked away from his Abuja home early Monday by anti-graft operatives. He has remained in custody since.

A Youth led-group, League of Progressives Ambassadors of Nigeria (LEPAN) represent have described the arrest of Mr. Sidiq as a threat to free speech among others.

The statement issued Tuesday signed by the group reads “Young Nigerians are also concerned about the style of arrest, abuse of powers and the response of government to the issue, which has been disavowed by the general public.”

It says “in a democracy, the rule of law and impartial justice is the defense of a legal citizen.

Read the complete statement below…..

The adherence to the separation of powers and due respect of constitutional human rights should be the pursuit of a legitimate government.

The arrest of Abubakar Usman Sidiq in the early hours of Monday 8th August 2016 has further alienated the people from the government, which ought to be more focused on fostering trust.

The EFCC stated in a press release via its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren that it has arrested the popular blogger accusing him of ‘cyberstalking in violation of the cyber crimes act of Nigeria’ and citing an article published by the blogger about the commission’s Chairman. An individual in authority must not use state powers abusively in addressing a discontent.

LEPAN believes the law must take its due course in the matter. However, the government has acted in a reckless and unlawful manner on several counts:

1. Violation of the rule of law as section 45 sub-section 1 of the Cyber crimes act clearly states the process to arrest and detaining alleged offenders.

2. Violation of the freedom of expression by impeding on Mr. Abubakar’s right to express his opinions according to Section 39 sub-section 1 of the Nigerian constitution.

3. Violation of Jurisdiction as Section 6 and 7 of the Economic and financial Crimes commission establishment act of 2004 clearly outlines the powers of the commission.

This is a threat to the fundamental rights of every Nigerian to free speech and it must be duly addressed.

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