Zamfara Governor's Threat To Arrest Opposition Politicians Is An Assault On Free Speech

It is increasingly getting dangerous in Nigeria for citizens to criticise the govt . we have seen how critics are being persecuted by the powers that be.

Daily Post reports that the governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle has issued a robust warning to members of the opposition party within the State, warning that their utterances could send them to prison.

Zamfara

The governor said he would arrest and prosecute any politician who defames or assassinates his character. He alleged that some politicians have turned to using hate speech, defamation, and lies against him to stay relevant.

 

He said, “If the members of the opposition cannot defend what they assert , that amounts to defamation of character. I, therefore, advise them to prevent defaming other people’s character because i will be able to order the arrest of whoever is caught doing that and he will attend jail.”

 

There is a drag with this. One gets that feeling that Bello Matawalle is trying to use scare and fear to silence critics, especially those within the opposition. As state governor, he must realise that he are going to be the foremost critisiced man in his state. But threatening to jail people on the grounds of "defamation" seems to the present writer that he's attempting to stifle free speech.

 

Incidentally, this is often not the primary time this year we have seen this sort of visual communication from politicians. We reported a couple of months ago the arrest of three people - including a 70-year old man - in Kastina state for "insulting" President Muhammadu Buhari and Aminu Masari, governor of the state.

 

We've also written about the arrest of a Sotoko-based Islamic scholar who criticised the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai over the ban on religious worship. The scholar, Bello Yabo was arrested in Sokoto and transferred to Kaduna last month.

 

How about Rotimi Jolayemi, aka Oba Akewi? Rotimi, a radio presenter was detained by the police for reading a poem that cricised the minister of culture and knowledge Lai Muhamed.

 

We can't still have these attacks on free speech and criticism in Nigeria for the sake of our democracy.

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