Internet Without Borders joins more than 40 international, African and Nigerian civil society organizations to urge Nigerian authorities not to shutdown access to the Internet, and to preserve freedom of expression, access to information, and freedom of assembly for Nigerian citizens.
Since October 7, 2020, Nigeria has been the scene of peaceful protests against police brutality, particularly that of the Special Snti-Robbery Unit (SARS), accused of being responsible for arbitrary arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings.
The firm response from the authorities raises fears of an escalation towards ever more repression: after having banned the demonstrations, then opened fire on civilians, citizens now fear that the Federal Government will decide to attack social media, which are both the catalyst for this citizen movement, and a channel of information on the extent of the current repression.
There are also images and videos from the killings of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate allegedly by the Nigerian Army. These clips can serve as evidence and help any genuine investigation and subsequent prosecution of these crimes against peaceful protesters and the Nigerian State.“, said Adeboye Adekoke, Senior Media and Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative.
According to Qemal Affagnon, West Africa Manager of Internet Sans Frontieres,“In addition to the political consequences, the economic impact of an Internet shutdown would be significant for Africa’s largest economy. We urge the authorities to preserve connectivity.”