The right to freedom of expression of young Nigerians is under attack. Nigerians face the risk of arrests and detention simply for expressing critical opinions online. We must come together and say ’no’ to the criminalization of freedom of expression online. Take action now.
Twitter threads, satirical Tik Toks, Facebook discussions: young Nigerians are brilliant at expressing themselves online – all 27 million of us. It’s how we are aware of what is happening in Nigeria and the rest of the world. It is how many of us shared footage of the #EndSARS protests, which helped document abuses against protestors. It is how we mobilized solidarity and support around the world. Expressing ourselves online is our fundamental human right. But this right is under attack.
The right of young people to freedom of expression in Nigeria is threatened. From the recent #EndSARS protests, a lot of young Nigerians have come attacks, ranging from threats to arrests, illegal detention, and harassment, all for simply expressing their opinions online.
Attempts have been made by the authorities to restrict freedom of expression on social media. An example is the Anti-Social Media Bill, formally known as the “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill”, which was introduced by the Nigerian Senate in November 2019.
These attempts have not stopped; the authorities continue to make arguments in support of restricting freedom of expression online. Without the protection of the right to freedom of expression online, we are all at risk. Question or criticize the authorities online, and you could find yourself arrested and jailed.
We need to act now. As young Nigerians, we must stand together and ensure that the right to express ourselves online is protected without criminalization.