The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has expressed displeasure over what it described as the increasing intimidation of journalists and attack on human rights activists in the country.
This is contained in a statement issued by CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), on Wednesday.
The statement comes in the wake of alleged threat to the life, which forced the Daily Nigerian publisher Jaafar Jaafar, to go underground.
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The threat to Jaafar’s life, many believe, may not be unconnected to the videos published in which Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was allegedly seen stuffing dollars into his clothes. The governor has alleged foul play and has vowed to deal with those behind the videos.
According to Rafsanjani, “The recently released World Press Freedom Index by the Reporters Without Borders shows a sharp decline in Nigeria’s press freedom.
“On this index, Nigeria with an approximate score of 40 ranked 115out of 180 countries on the 2020 index which is 5 places worse than the previous approximate score of 36 and a rank of 120.
“This negative trend is in line with other recently released indexes of the quality of governance and government in Nigeria such as the African Mo Ibrahim Index to quote one case of many.
‘’The intimidation currently being faced by journalists and human rights activists by the state and other powerful individuals is unacceptable.
“We would like to reiterate that the human rights and the freedom of journalists and human rights activists should be respected.
‘’We acknowledge the fact that journalists and civil society leaders have been instrumental to the development of Nigeria. Their investigative reports have helped to unearth corruption amongst other ills in the society and have led in many cases to significant asset recoveries and prevention of grand-scale embezzlement when law enforcement has been unable or unwilling to do so.
‘’We would like to restate our commitment to support the rights and freedom of every journalists and human rights activists to practice without fear of intimidation.
“We call on these brave professionals not to be discouraged, but to continue to serve the Nigerian citizens.
‘’We call on authorities to resist political pressure and operate within the spirit of the law.
‘’We all have a responsibility to ensure that the freedom of media is guaranteed by law and practice.”