A human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has accused the Federal Government of being “highly sensitive to criticism” with a focus on its public image.
This was contained in a statement issued by Osai Ojigho, country director of Amnesty International (AI) Nigeria, on Thursday while addressing the topic “Is Freedom of Speech in Danger in Nigeria?” during a virtual conversation, tagged ‘Thursday Talks’.
The virtual conversation, which is a monthly programme focused on engaging thought leaders, was moderated by Adeboye Adegoke, senior programme manager at Paradigm Initiative.
According to her, the government’s ban on Twitter and its proposed amendment to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) code are attempts to gag criticism.
“What we are seeing is a government that is highly sensitive to criticism and, as such, seeks to work more on the public relation side of things — how it looks — rather than addressing the core issues,” she said.
“This is why it’s quite worrying when you look at the insecurity situation in Nigeria that we are today, because people have been speaking up, and nothing has happened. People have complained about attacks on their villages and communities, but no one has been prosecuted.
“And at Amnesty International and several groups, we’ve constantly called the Nigerian authorities’ attention to these issues — not just nationally, but on the global arena.
“That is why there is now a much more deliberate attempt to restrict how we do this work and to threaten independent organisations from carrying out their own observation and monitoring of government activities.”