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Groups condemn crackdown on civil society in Niger

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President Mahamadou Issoufou / AFP / ISSOUF SANOGO

Civil society leaders in Nigeria have condemned President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger for harassing and detaining civil society leaders in Niger Republic, calling for the immediate release of arrested civil society leaders.

They demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari, in the spirit of good neighbourliness and the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance should prevail on his counterpart in Niger to release civil society leaders and ensure edification of democracy and the rule of law.

In a statement jointly signed by 16 groups in Nigeria, they said over the past three years, civil society activists in Niger have come under siege from state actors in a crackdown that has led to a series of convictions, arrests and detentions of civil society leaders.

The civil societies from Nigeria also called on the people of Niger to be dogged in their struggle for the defence of democratic and civil rights in their country.

“The contest has been the rising poverty in the country, the rise of protests by civil society seeking to protect the people and the increasingly authoritarian response of the state and its security agencies.

“The latest wave of arrests followed the demonstration by thousands of Nigeriens against the austerity measures imbedded in the 2018 budget. On March 25, 2018, security agents raided offices of major civil society organisations in Niger, attacked and arrested 23 of their leaders.”

Those arrested were charged with participating in an illegal demonstration and were sent to jail without trial, just as the radio and television station – Radio et Télévision Labarai (RTL) was closed.


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