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CITAD warns against use of social media to deny citizens bail

CITAD logo | File Photo

.Says it’s a dangerous precedent for  collective freedom

‘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 on one of us’

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.

Recall that on May 20, 2022, Mrs. Rhoda Jatau was picked up at her residence by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) on the allegations of alleged inciting public disturbance by sharing a Whatsapp message to her friends condemning the killing of a student in Sokoto for a alleged blasphemy.

Mr. Yunusa Z Ya’u, the executive director, CITAD, made the assertion at a news conference on the “Digital Rights Implication of the Iingering Case of Mrs. Rhoda Jatau”’ on her continued detention in Bauchi on Friday.

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He said the detention of the woman sent a bad signal that the government could silence any dissenting voice it deems contrary to its 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’s 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 on one of us.

“As an organization working on the protection of human and digital rights of Nigerians, we strongly condemn the unnecessary adjournments and postponements of Mrs. Rhoda’s case hearing.

“Which has been delayed for 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.

“Keeping her in addition for commending extrajudicial murder is asking to detain all the people condemning the atrocious matter. 

“Our demands are clear: We call for her immediate release and all charges against her be dropped and as well

respect of the fundamental right of every citizen to express themselves freely and openly in the digital space,” he said.

He also urged the Federal government to immediately intervene and ensure the release of Mrs. Jatau without further delay. valoa2000@yahoo.com

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