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CSO decries ‘draconian’ laws against civic freedoms in Nigeria

CSO decries ‘draconian’ laws against civic freedoms in Nigeria

A civil society organization, Global Rights, has frowned at some alleged draconian laws and bills at the National Assembly, saying that they speak against civic freedoms in Nigeria.

Country Director, Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, who frowned at this at a high level strategy meeting with the theme: “Solutions Lab: Resisting Draconian Laws and Regulations on Civic Freedoms in Nigeria,” in Abuja, said there are about 112 ‘draconian’ laws that restrict the media and the civic space.

She stressed that currently, there are more than nine draconian bills at the National Assembly that place major threats to the civic space and security of the nation.

This is even as she noted that the civic space belongs to Nigerians and that civil society organizations would not relent on highlighting the draconian laws.

“This convening is a solutions lab to review draconian laws by the government and how civil society should engage on these issues. The civic space in Nigeria is being repressed by many laws. For example our colleagues at Spaces for Change have recorded more than 426 infractions on the civic space by the government, a lot of them against the media.

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“More than 112 against the media. Currently we have more than nine draconian bills at the National Assembly that are a threat to not just the civic space but the security and the development of our nation.

“We cannot allow that to continue, we are going into 2023, and we must begin to think of how to engage as a people beyond just the voting and the politics around elections, to ensure we are able to hold government accountable to the laws and policies that they prefer to assent.

“The civic space belongs to the people of Nigeria and not just a hidden group of people and so we must protect that.”

On his part, Maxwell Kadiri, an expert with the Open Society Justice Initiative, said that civil society organizations would push to ensure the ‘draconian’ laws are stroked out.

“We are focused on constructing the civic space and then designing a framework for addressing them, because it would seem like we are getting into the frame under the guise of advancing the rule of law.

“Provisions aimed at constricting civic freedoms are basically inserted in legislative proposals and then once they get passed into law, they actually become the avenue for providing legality for excesses of organs of government to basically compete with civic space.

“That seems to now be from what we’ve seen the strategy that is being implemented. So civil society through this convening is basically looking at how do we brainstorm in addressing the situation. To ensure that they strike down those draconian provisions.

CSO decries ‘draconian’ laws against civic freedoms in Nigeria

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