By Ahmed Ahmed
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has declared that denying someone bail based on a social media post sets a dangerous precedent for the collective freedom and democracy of the country.
It could be recalled that on the 20th of May, 2022 Mrs. Rhoda Jatau was picked up at her residence by NPF on the allegations of alleged incitement and inciting public disturbance by sharing a Whatsapp message to her friends condemning the killing of a student in Sokoto for alleged blasphemy.
Mr Yunusa Z Ya’u, Executive Director,
CITAD asserted at a news conference on the digital rights implication of the lingering case of Mrs. Rhoda Jatau on her continued detention on Friday in Bauchi.
He said this sends a bad signal that the government can silence any dissenting voice if they deem it contrary to their own opinion.
“If this trend continues, it will make people afraid to speak their minds, express themselves and associate online for fear of being attacked, arrested or molested by the Nigerian government or its agencies as in the case of Rhoda and many others.
“We reiterate that Rhoda’s arrest and continued detention are a violation of her digital rights, and we cannot stand and do nothing while injustice is meted out to one of us.
“As an organization working on the protection of the human and digital rights of Nigerians, we strongly condemn the unnecessary adjournments and postponements of Mrs Rhoda’s case hearing,
“Which has been delayed five times since March 2023. We further renounce the rejection of her application for a “no-case submission” by her Lawyers despite having no criminal history,” he said.
Keeping her in addition to commending extra-judicial murder is asking to detain all the people condemning the atrocious matter.
Our demands are clear:
The Executive Director called for her immediate release and for all charges against her to be dropped as well
respect for the fundamental right of every citizen to express themselves freely and openly in the digital space.
He also urged the Federal government to immediately intervene and ensure the release of Mrs Jatau without further delay.
“The Bauchi State Government to order the Attorney General in the state to facilitate the release of Mrs. Jatau unconditionally
“The Nigeria Police Force to desist from arresting the citizens for exercising their constitutional rights online
“We call on the media organizations nationwide to amplify the voices of Mrs Jatau and others who face similar injustices at the hands of the Nigeria Police Force and other agencies,” he said.
Ya’u added that Human Rights Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and Lawyers to unite in assisting victims of digital rights abuses and safeguarding the digital rights of Nigerians.
He also urged the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill,
“Which we believe will address most of this injustice perpetrated against the citizens under the guise of national security,” he said