CAN Chairman’s Killing: Deplorable Crimes Must Not Go Unpunished – Amnesty International

A file photo of slain Reverend Lawan Andimi.

 

 

Human rights group, Amnesty International has condemned the killing of Reverend Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram insurgents.

The clergyman, who was abducted by the insurgents in early January, was the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria.

Despite the call for his release by various groups, including the national leadership of the religious body, Andimi was killed by his captors on Monday.

The Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Bishop Dami Mamza, confirmed the killing of the abducted CAN Chairman, saying it was gruesome and unfortunate.

On Tuesday, the director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, also described Andimi’s murder as appalling.

Ojigho said, “Amnesty International is appalled by reports that Reverend Lawan Andimi, the chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was killed by Boko Haram yesterday (Monday).

“With this horrific murder and an increasing number of attacks in recent weeks, Boko Haram has again shown its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life. These deplorable crimes must not go unpunished.”

The group’s director decried that Boko Haram followed up the killing of the clergyman with an attack on his village in Chibok Local Government of Borno State.

According to her, targeting civilians is a crime under international law and those perpetrating war crimes must be made to face the consequence of their actions.

“Boko Haram must immediately stop its attacks on civilians. All those responsible for war crimes and other human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria must be brought to justice in a fair trial,” Ojigho said.

She added, “The Nigerian authorities must redouble their efforts to rescue the hundreds of civilians still detained by Boko Haram.

“Since December last year, Boko Haram has been escalating attacks on civilians, commuters, infrastructure and humanitarian facilities across north-east.”

IMF Loans Equatorial Guinea $280m Despite Controversy

The International Monetary Fund, is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

 

The International Monetary Fund has extended a 280-million-dollar loan to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, despite protests by rights monitors who cited sweeping misrule and corruption in the central African country.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam had opposed the loan until the government of the country, ruled with an iron fist by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema for four decades, cleaned up its act.

“The arrangement is intended to support the authorities’ three-year economic program, which aims at further reducing macroeconomic imbalances and addressing financial sector vulnerabilities; improving social protection and human capital development; promoting economic diversification; and fostering good governance, increasing transparency and fighting corruption,” an IMF statement said Thursday.

About $40.4 million of the total will be disbursed immediately and the remainder over a three-year period, the Washington-based lender said.

IMF deputy managing director Tao Zhang said: “In recent years, the Equatoguinean economy has been impacted by a sharp decline in oil prices and a secular decline in hydrocarbon output, which led to large macroeconomic imbalances and negative economic growth.

“The economy has also been affected by longstanding governance and corruption problems.

“While the authorities have taken steps to address these challenges, a more comprehensive approach is needed to tackle them effectively and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth,” Tao said.

“The IMF loan should force Equatorial Guinea to undertake deep reforms in the way the country exploits its natural resources,” said Sarah Saadoun, a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“A slew of international lawsuits for corruption have been filed against the son of the president, who holds the post of vice-president”, added Tutu Alicante, the head of a local NGO called EG Justice.

Vice President Teodorin Obiang Nguema is notorious for his free-spending lifestyle and his multi-million-dollar mansions strewn across the world in some of the world’s most expensive areas.

Rights groups accuse President Obiang of ruthlessly clamping down on the opposition and institutional corruption.

Despite its oil wealth, the vast majority of the population live in dire poverty.

 

AFP

19 Journalists Suffered Attack In Nigeria Within Nine Months – Amnesty International

AFP photo

 

 

Amnesty International says no fewer than 19 journalists and media practitioners have suffered attack in Nigeria between January and September 2019.

The human rights organisation disclosed this in its report entitled, Endangered Voices: Attack On Freedom Of Expression In Nigeria.

In the 42-page document launched in Abuja on Monday, the group noted that the figure was the highest recorded in the country since 2015.

One of the cases highlighted in the report is that of Jones Abiri, a journalist based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, who was arrested and detained for more than two years without trial for publishing a story about oil blocks and politics in Nigeria.

Another incident is that of Ahmed Salkida who was declared wanted by the Nigerian government for publishing an article and proof of life video of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, among other cases.

READ ALSO: Police Uncover Islamic Centre With Chained, Maltreated Children In Daura

Amnesty decried that the civic space has continued to shrink, stressing that clear examples of such were the attacks on freedom of information and expression as well as media freedom.

“Since 2015, attacks on journalists and media activists have continued unabated. Amnesty International has been closely monitoring these attacks and now reports on how they have contributed to the violation of other human rights in Nigeria.

“These attacks take the form of verbal and physical assault, as well as indiscriminate arrest and detention by Nigerian authorities,” Amnesty said in the executive summary page of the report.

 

Death Threats?

It accused the security forces of perpetrating most of the violations, adding that they occur when journalists and media practitioners seek access to information, share information or express critical views that could drive public opinion.

The group was worried that dissenting views expressed by media practitioners were often criminalised, particularly when they revolve around sensitive issues.

It also noted that there was stifling of freedom of expression in circumstances where journalists were pressured to disclose their sources of information.

“Those who spoke to Amnesty International confirmed that they came under intense pressure from Nigeria’s security officials to reveal their sources of information, particularly when they published stories that focused on corruption, elections, and armed conflict.

“Some of the journalists were kept under surveillance, while others received death threats via telephone calls from unidentified people.

“Many journalists also came under attack while reporting the 2019 General Elections across Nigeria,” the report revealed.

According to the group, the failure of the Nigerian government to investigate cases of indiscriminate arrest, detention, and prosecution of journalists and media practitioners ensures that perpetrators are not held to account for human rights violations.

It said while many of the victims faced indiscriminate charges such as ‘defamation’ and ‘terrorism’, others had charges such as ‘kidnapping’, criminal trespass and theft of state documents brought against them.

Amnesty accused the government at both federal and state levels of violating and repressing the human rights of bloggers, journalists, broadcasters and social media users.

It stated that the Nigerian authorities have legally binding obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, media freedom and personal liberty in the country.

The group, therefore, asked the government to immediately end violations and abuses of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, as well as media freedom and personal liberty.

It recommended that journalists, bloggers, and media activists must have access to information and be able to do their job freely without any fear of reprisal.

Amnesty also called for thorough and effective investigations into allegations of attacks against victims and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible through fair trials.

Among other demands, it called on the government to issue clear directives to the police, military, and other security agencies to refrain from applying existing laws in a manner that restricts or interferes with rights to freedom of expression.

Amnesty International Demands Justice For Victims Of Sudan Violence

Secretary-General of Amnesty International Kumi Naidoo speaks during a press conference in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on September 13, 2019.
Ebrahim HAMID / AFP

 

Rights group Amnesty International Friday called for justice for those killed during months of protests that rocked Sudan, insisting that demonstrators had faced “disproportionate and unnecessary” violence.

Sudan has experienced unprecedentedly large rallies since December, first against now-ousted leader Omar al-Bashir and later against the generals who seized power after overthrowing him.

The protest movement says that more than 250 demonstrators were killed in the violence, including at least 127 in a crackdown on a sit-in during early June outside military headquarters in Khartoum.

“Amnesty International thanks the people of Sudan for showing us courage, for showing us resilience and for showing that we can resist injustice and violation of human rights,” Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo told reporters during a visit to Khartoum, in the first such trip by the rights group’s chief to Sudan.

He said the demonstrators were confronted by “disproportionate use of violence, unnecessary use of violence and provocative use of violence”.

READ ALSO: South African Protesters Demand Crackdown On Femicide

“Amnesty International will back the Sudanese people in calling on the new government to ensure that there are absolute accountability and justice” for the families of those killed.

Protests first erupted in December against the then government’s decision to triple the price of bread.

They swiftly escalated into a nationwide campaign against Bashir’s ironfisted three-decade rule.

The army ousted Bashir on April 11 but protesters continued their street campaign, switching it against the military council that overthrow him.

In August, Sudan embarked on a transition to civilian rule thanks to a power-sharing deal signed between protest leaders and the generals, and a joint civilian-military ruling body was sworn in.

On Sunday, an 18-member cabinet was sworn in, the first since the ouster of Bashir.

AFP

South African Authorities Must Stop ‘Fuelling Xenophobia’ – Amnesty International

A man kicks a burning piece of furniture during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019. Michele Spatari / AFP.

 

 

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International has called on South African authorities to urgently address the escalating attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners living in the country.

The Executive Director of the organisation in South Africa, Mr Shenilla Mohamed, made the call while faulting the government’s attitude to the crisis.

Mohamed’s criticism comes amid the series of condemnation that has trailed the xenophobic attacks targetted at Nigerians and citizens of other countries in South Africa.

“South African authorities must stop fuelling xenophobia in their desperate attempt to win political support,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Is Recalling Its High Commissioner To South Africa – Lai Mohammed

The executive director added, “Rather, they must build a country that is rooted in respect for human rights and the rule of law that protects everyone.

“South African authorities must come up with a security plan to ensure the safety of all refugees and migrants and seek to end these attacks once and for all. That begins with holding suspected perpetrators of past xenophobic crimes to account and breaking this cycle of impunity.”

According to Mohamed, ongoing attacks against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as looting of foreign-owned shops in South Africa is a direct consequence of years of impunity.

He also blamed it on the failure in the country’s criminal justice system that has left vulnerable group exposed and unprotected.

Convenient Scapegoats?

The executive director noted that five people have been confirmed dead as violence between locals and foreigners continued to escalate in Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa.

He said, “South African authorities cannot say that they didn’t see this rampant violence coming. For many years refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have been targeted for who they are and what they look like.

“They have also served as convenient scapegoats for unscrupulous politicians who have pushed the insidious narrative that foreign nationals have stolen jobs and are to blame for everything that is going wrong in the country.”

Mohamed said the first major outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa witnessed more than 11 years ago resulted in the killing of more than 60 people.

He wondered why such crisis was not seen as a wake-up call for the authorities to root out hatred against refugees and migrants and hold those responsible to account.

“Their lack of action has resulted in the subsequent and recurring attacks we’ve seen,” the executive director decried.

Condemning the recent attacks, he noted that South Africa has been experiencing systematic looting and burning of businesses belonging to foreign nationals, largely in Pretoria and Johannesburg for weeks.

Mohamed insisted that businesses belonging to Nigerians and other foreign nationals have been targeted in the two cities, with stock and possessions worth millions burnt to ashes.

He said the violence dramatically escalated last week following confrontations between locals and foreigners, marked by horrific attacks and killings.

The executive director insisted that the South African government has largely failed to address past xenophobic, violent outbreaks across the country.

Amnesty International Frowns At Alleged Torture Of Suspects By Nigeria Police, Military

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

Amnesty International has decried the alleged use of torture by Nigeria military and police to get information from suspects.

The group said its arm in Nigeria has continued to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody despite an existing law against the use of torture.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement released by Amnesty International in commemoration International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

“Nigerian authorities must do more to end the ongoing use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment by law enforcement agencies.

“Despite recent government measures aimed at reducing the incidence of torture in the country, Amnesty International Nigeria continues to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody. Moreover, victims are still being denied justice, with the Nigerian judicial system failing to prevent or punish torture, perpetuating a culture of impunity,” the statement read in part.

READ ALSO: Court Has No Jurisdiction For My Arrest Warrant, Says Innoson Boss

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho in the statement added that, although steps have been taken to address torture in Nigeria, including the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in December 2017 and the setting up of the presidential panel on reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) the use of torture by the police and others is still widespread.

“Our research also shows that despite an existing law against the use of torture, no police officer has been charged under the act. Moreover, the Nigerian police is yet to amend Force Order 237 which allows police officers to shoot at fleeing suspects, giving room for lethal use of force that sometimes leads to extrajudicial killings.

“On 5 March 2018 a high court in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay compensation to Ugochukwu Oraefo for extortion, illegal arrest, unlawful detention and torture after he was arrested by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Awkuzu, Anambra state. The police have neither paid the victim nor ensured that the police officers involved have been brought to justice.

“Amnesty International highlighted rampant torture and ill-treatment especially by the SARS police unit in the report: Nigeria: ‘You Have Signed Your Death Warrant’ in 2016, yet shocking incidents of torture still continue. Every now and then videos of police officers or soldiers torturing suspects surface and generate outrage.”

The human rights group said it is time Nigerian authorities declare, in strong terms, that security personnel will be held accountable for torture and that victims of torture will get justice, including rehabilitation and compensation.

In 2018 Nigerian activists launched a nationwide social media campaign #EndSARS, demanding an end to torture and other ill-treatment by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAR), a special police squad created to fight armed robbery cases. In response, the police authorities acknowledged that SARS has been responsible for widespread violations and announced some reforms, while the government directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a panel to investigate the activities of SARS.

The panel submitted its report in May 2019.

An Amnesty International poll in May 2019 indicated that 63 percent of poll respondents regard torture and unlawful killings by the police, as the most serious human rights violation they want the government to address.

Amnesty International Seeks Abolition Of Death Penalty In Nigeria

NGO Bill: Protect Your Freedom, Amnesty International Tells Nigerians

 

Global rights group, Amnesty International has launched an eight point human rights agenda, asking the Federal and State Governments to urgently implement recommendations from previous reports about human rights violations in Nigeria.

Amnesty International also asked for an abolition of death sentence and as well an end to torture as a means of extracting information from suspects during interrogations.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the country director of the human rights organization, Osai Ojigho maintained that both the Federal and State Governments need to do more to address cases of human rights abuses, adding that the new political dispensation provides politicians another opportunity.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences Beninoise Househelp To Death For Murder Of Boss

Over the years, Amnesty International has documented reports about human rights abuses across Nigeria. Some of those reports are often very critical about the operations of government agencies especially the police and the Nigeria military.

At the news conference in Abuja, the human rights organization did not release a new report, but proposed eight point human rights agenda for the new political dispensation in Nigeria.

The organization said it wants government to end violence against women and girls, stop torture and abolish death penalty.

In line with the rights group’s request, many agree that the issue of torture as a means of extracting information from suspects should be abolished, however, many others disagree with the human rights organization on their quest to abolish the death penalty.

Although many countries around the world have abolished capital punishment, death penalty is still practiced in some countries including China, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Amnesty International Condemns Killing Of Nigerian Woman By Saudi Arabia Government

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

 

Amnesty International has condemned the execution of the Nigerian woman by Saudi Arabia.

The human rights group in a statement via twitter noted that since 2014, 8 Nigerians have been executed including 7men and 1 woman.

According to Amnesty International the highest number of execution was recorded in 2018 with the execution of 5 Nigerians.

Amnesty International urged the Saudi Arabian government to put an end to the act of violence.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Two Over Killing Of UNILAG Medical Grad, Stephen Urueye

In a similar vein, Amnesty International has said that the Nigerian Justice system has failed to curb the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.

The rights agency made the assertion in reaction to the killing of a young man named Kolade Johnson, by an alleged member of SARS.

Amnesty International said that the Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing of the young man shot dead by the “notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit” while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos.

Amnesty International said it has documented a pattern of grave human rights violations carried out by SARS since 2016.

“Kolade Johnson is the latest victim of the SARS police unit which has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture, and extortion,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“This appears to be an unlawful killing which must be impartially and thoroughly investigated, with any officers suspected of criminal responsibility for wrongdoing brought to justice in a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court.

It is shameful that more than two years since Amnesty International highlighted crimes under international law and human rights violations by SARS, these shocking incidents continue unabated.”

#EndSARS: Nigerian Justice System Has Failed To Prevent, Punish Torture – Amnesty International

 

Amnesty International has said that the Nigerian Justice system has failed to curb the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.

The rights agency made the assertion in reaction to the killing of a young man named Kolade Johnson, by an alleged member of SARS.

Amnesty International said that the Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing of the young man shot dead by the “notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit” while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos yesterday.

Kolade Johnson was reportedly shot accidentally by SARS officers who had been pursuing another man at the football viewing center.

Amnesty International said it has documented a pattern of grave human rights violations carried out by SARS since 2016.

“Kolade Johnson is the latest victim of the SARS police unit which has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture, and extortion,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“This appears to be an unlawful killing which must be impartially and thoroughly investigated, with any officers suspected of criminal responsibility for wrongdoing brought to justice in a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court.

It is shameful that more than two years since Amnesty International highlighted crimes under international law and human rights violations by SARS, these shocking incidents continue unabated.”

Reports suggest that Kolade Johnson was hit by a stray bullet when SARS officers tried to disperse a crowd during an operation to arrest another man.

There has been a public outcry over the killing, with thousands of people using the #EndSARS social media hashtag in the past 24 hours.

“Nigerians will no longer accept the brutality being unleashed against them by SARS on an almost daily basis,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“SARS is a police unit created to protect the people. Instead, it has become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.”

Amnesty International said its investigations into the activities of SARS across Nigeria since 2016 have exposed the callous workings of a police squad operating outside of the law.

“The September 2016 report ‘Nigeria: You have signed your death warrant’ showed how the unit has been systematically torturing detainees as a means of extracting confessions and bribes.

“All subsequent government pledges to reform SARS, including one by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in August last year, have amounted to nothing.

“In addition to its stated remit of tackling violent crime, in some cases, SARS investigates civil matters and has tortured detainees involved in contractual, business and even domestic disputes.

“Victims of SARS crimes are often legally powerless to defend themselves against criminal accusations and torture.

“Much more needs to be done to end human rights violations by SARS, including unnecessary and excessive use of force, extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, and extortion. Wide-ranging reforms must be carried out so that Nigerians can trust the police to protect them,” said Osai Ojigho.

“Evidence of crimes and human rights violations committed by SARS is widely available, including in reports by Amnesty International, and this should aid effective investigation into crimes committed by the squad.”

READ ALSO: Police Nab Suspected Illegal Fuel Bunker In Ejigbo

Below are some tweets by Amnesty International regarding the case of Kolade Johnson.

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

 

Global human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has raised concern over the inability of the Nigerian government to hold those involved in human rights violation accountable.

In a statement by the Media Manager of Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, the group decried what it described as pervasive violence against women.

According to the statement, these include purported rape of women and girls at various Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps, as well as sexual violence against female detainees by security operatives, sometimes in order to extract confessions.

READ ALSOAmnesty International Demands Probe Of ‘Rampant Corruption’ In IDP Camps

The group said it was worried that the violations have continued, despite the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act by the National Assembly in 2015.

“While welcoming Nigeria’s acceptance of recommendations to intensify efforts to combat gender-based violence, the organisation urges the government to ensure that victims throughout the Federation can seek legal redress for gender-based violations, in line with the provisions of the VAPP,” it said.

“Since the beginning of the armed conflict in northeast Nigeria in 2009, Amnesty International has documented war crimes and other human rights abuses by Boko Haram and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the security forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions,” it stated further.

It, however, frowned on the lack of accountability for crimes committed by Boko Haram, as well as by government forces in the fight against the insurgents, and called on the government to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice in fair trials.

The organisation noted that several states had called on the Federal Government to strengthen the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

In order to promote these rights, it disclosed that it recently launched a campaign on freedom of expression in Nigeria.

Amnesty International explained that this was a platform to call on the government to ensure that journalists and other media professionals could operate without fear of arrests or other reprisals.

Noting that the Human Rights Council has adopted a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome on Nigeria, the group commended the nation’s cooperation with the review process and its positive response to some of the recommendations made by other states in the UPR Working Group.

Amnesty International Demands Probe Of ‘Rampant Corruption’ In IDP Camps

Amnesty International Demands Probe Of 'Rampant Corruption' In IDP Camps

 

Human rights group Amnesty International has called on the Federal Government to investigate what it described as “credible allegations of rampant corruption” made by victims of the Boko Haram insurgency at various Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.

It made the demand in a series of tweets on Friday to commemorate the celebration of International Women’s Day.

“There were protests at the Shettima Ali Monguno and Teachers Village camps in Maiduguri in February over lack of food, ill-treatment and corruption,” the group said.

READ ALSOElectoral Violence: Military Dismisses Fear Of Reprisals Over Killing Of Personnel

It further accused the Nigerian authorities of continuing to fail thousands of women who fled their homes as a result of the activities of the insurgents.

Amnesty International noted that this comes almost a year after its investigation revealed the “patterns of abuse by the security forces.”

“Many of these women still struggle to access food and other basic items in camps for IDP’s and are restricted from leaving.

“Those who speak up about their ordeal face harassment from government officials, particularly the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA),” it alleged.

The group decried that the combination of movement restrictions and lack of assistance has left female IDPs at increased risk of sexual exploitation allegedly by security operatives present in and around the camps.

According to it, the Boko Haram conflict forced thousands of women to live in squalid conditions in IDP camps.

Amnesty International, however, insisted that it was the responsibility of the Nigerian authorities to protect the women and bring all those suspected of exploiting them to justice.

Amnesty International Demands Release Of Activist Maryam Awaisu

Amnesty International Condemns Election-Related Violence, Asks FG To Protect Citizens

 

Amnesty International has demanded the unconditional release of author and human rights activist Maryam Awaisu.

Awaisu, one of the leaders of the #ArewaMeToo movement, which is seeking justice for victims of sexual harassment, was reportedly arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in her office in Kaduna on Tuesday.

A statement by the Media Manager of AI Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, said the arrest appeared to be an attempt to intimidate her and supporters of the movement.

“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Maryam Aiwasu who has done nothing more than speaking up for women’s rights,” Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International was quoted as saying.

“Her arrest appears to be an attempt to intimidate and harass both her and other women supporting #AreweMeToo – a movement seeking justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria.”

Ojigho added, “While arresting Maryam, the police attempted to gain access to her laptop and mobile phone by force; this is clearly an effort to access the sensitive evidence she and other human rights defenders have been gathering to seek justice for victims of sexual violence.”

For the Amnesty International Director, the arrest is unacceptable as it might prevent victims of sexual violence from seeking justice.

“Maryam and the other brave human rights defenders working with the #AreweMeToo movement must not be silenced or punished for the vital work they do,” he said.

“For too long, Nigeria’s women have been facing various kinds of sexual violence that seldom receives proper attention from the country’s law enforcement agencies.

“It is unacceptable that women working on behalf of these victims are subjected to such arrest and intimidation, and we fear that these actions may prevent victims of sexual violence from pursuing justice.”