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Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

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Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

theme:  Securing African Civic Spaces for Youths.

The Africanxt is a gathering of Africa-focused innovators from Africa and the diaspora. The event took

place from 6-10 February. At the event, Amnesty International Nigeria brought together experts to

discuss the theme- Securing African Civic Spaces for Youths. The Panel consisted of Osai Ojigho, the

Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria; Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, a legal Practioner,

Principal M.O.N. Legal and Founder of DiGiCiViC Initiative; Ali Sabo, Campaign and Communication

Officer CITAD; and Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Manager Paradigm Initiative.

 

Dont be dissuaded by the economic hardship of Nigeria

Osai Ojigho stated that Africa’s youth have a lot going on to prevent them, like conflict, repressive

laws, limited economic opportunities and gender inequality. However, tools like mobile phones and

internet connectivity provide a booster for digital natives, which comprise many young people below

the age of 30, to express themselves in their own voice and choice of medium. In fact, the future is

already here, and it’s time to move from dreams to action.

 

Ogunlana-Nkanga Speaks On Violations Of Citizen’s Rights

Mojirayo, who specializes in digital rights, gender rights and promoting the civic space, contributed by

stating that there’s been a consistent shrinking of the civic space in Africa and, in fact, there’s been several

attempts by the Nigerian government to erase the civic space in Nigeria. One example was the shutting

down of Twitter for 222 days, which violated citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly

and freedom of association as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution as amended.

 

She further stated that we are all responsible for a thriving and healthy civic space. Every one of us must

play our part. We must gather, associate, and express our opinions in written or oral forms. It’s our civic

duty to the survival of democracy.

 

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Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

Ali Sabo, Campaign and Communication Officer CiTAD, centred his discussion around the shrinking

of Civic Space in Nigeria, particularly in the northern part of the country. In his contribution, Ali

stated that politicians, in connivance with organized elites in the region, are trying to silence the voice

of the activists, dissent, and their opponents in the area.

 

Abuse Of Constitutional Powers By Politicians

Citing some examples at the Panel, Mr Sabo said of recent there are growing concerns about how

politicians arbitrarily use their powers to clamp down on their opponents, journalists and social media

users where he mentioned that in the last quarter of 2022, more than five cases of such incidents were

reported in the region;

 

Some of the reported cases were the arrest of a 500-level student of Federal University Dutse on the

order of the wife of the president; the arrest of two tik-tok  graphic creators in Kano State on the order

of Kano State Governor; the unlawful detention of another young boy in Nguru, Yobe State, on the order

of Yobe State Governor etc. In the end, he called on the young people to never give up on their call for

free and safer civil space in the region, and they should never succumb to intimidation.

 

Amnesty International Nigeria 2023 Conference

Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Manager of Paradigm Initiative, stated that the end goal of attacks on civic

spaces is psychological. Therefore, it is essential to understand this end when engaging in conversations about

developing digital freedom policies and regulations.

 

When you consider, for example, the Nigerian Bill that proposed death by hanging for ‘hate speech, you

would see that the idea is to create enough fear in the polity to the extent that you would self-censor yourselves

for fear of being at the receiving end of such laws and consequences.

 

Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

The physical shrinking of the space is also to the same end. This is also why political officeholders and influential

people illegally deploy security agencies in Gestapo style to arrest people who have allegedly defamed them

to intimidate and create a climate of fear. When such arrest becomes prevalent in an ecosystem, the citizens are

forced to self-restraint and subconsciously refrain from dissent. Therefore, the essential civic duty of holding

power accountable becomes almost impossible.

Photos:

Amnesty International Nigeria 2023 Conference Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT

Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT Amnesty International Nigeria 2023 Conference Amnesty International hosted Securing African Civic Spaces for Youth at AFRICANXT


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