By Sylvia Felix, Theresa Augustine and Isioma Amifor
Civic Activist and Media Practitioners Forum Lead, Gabriel Adim, has called for civic atmosphere where citizens can express themselves without undue stifling.
Comrade Adim made the assertion on episode 265 of “The Dailogue With Agba Jalingo” on Hit 95.9 FM, Calabar where he featured as a guest and said people should at times be allowed to air their views on issues tickling the society as enabled by the constitution.
He noted that the civic space should be convenient, free, and a platform where citizens can come together as a united front and identify with Government, work and speak up against whatever is not in tandem with the society.
According to him, “A lot is really going on in the country and it keeps some of us worried and perhaps the future generation. If it continues like this because we are currently in a very precarious situation where people can no longer express themselves, and the freedom of expression has been totally shut down in the country. For instance, you can’t do any form of protest in any form. We at the civic society organisations, this is actually sad.”
Gabriel further inferred that though Nigeria practice democracy but it actions and policies do not reflect that.
Furthermore, he said: “We practice a democratic governance but this is contrary to what it means. So it is actually a very sad situation and we will continue to speak up because if we continue to do like this; we saw what happened recently, twitter have been shut down, Facebook have been under threat, a lot of things are happening you cannot hold a civic engagement that is going to talk about the Government without been harassed, this is the situation Nigeria is currently facing now and we are not happy about it, we will continue to speak about it and it’s a very sad one.
“Well, if you follow the United Nations, even Amnesty International index, you could see that Nigeria is among those countries, I may not be able to give you an exact figure, but I can say that Nigeria is among those country who is currently being rated very poor in terms of civic space convenience because having cited some of these instances to you, you could see that you can judge year in year out, you could see different activities going on.”
On the notion that, National security is more important to citizens freedom, Adim posited that, “to some extent we may agree with that position. But when you talk about certain freedom, can the Government also come out clear and itemize some of these freedom because you cannot tell me that if people come out to protest, does it constitute security bridge?
“We are in a very precarious situation, there is nothing we have not seen in the last five years in Government and it is very unfortunate. You know we just wake up in the morning and put on your television. That is the only thing they cannot stop us from watching but if you go to social media you will see a lot of bills coming up these days and they say they Government have allocated about 4.5billion Naira to monitor WhatsApp, so, what actually have we monitored so far?”
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