7 Times The Nigerian Government Has Mocked Free Speech

June 5, 2021

by Timinepre Cole

On Friday, June 4 2021, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture announced the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria indefinitely.

There are concerns that the ban is an attempt to restrict freedom of speech and expression because this is not the first time the government has done this. Here are seven other times since Nigeria’s independence in 1960 where the government has made a mockery of free speech.

free speech

1. 1967 — Imprisonment

In 1967, Nigerian author Wole Soyinka was arrested and imprisoned for twenty-eight months for commenting about the state of the country shortly before the Biafran genocide.

2. 1984 — Decree Number 4

In 1984, Muhammad Buhari who was head of state at the time passed Decree Number 4, The Protection Against False Accusations Decree which criminalised publishing any statement or rumour that brought the government or any public officer to ridicule.

3. 1986 — Assassination 

In October 1986, Nigerian Journalist and editor-in-chief of the defunct Newswatch, Dele Giwa was assassinated by a letter bomb for exposing corrupt and illegal practices of the Nigerian government.

4. 2016 — Cyber Security Law  

In September 2016, several investigative journalists and bloggers were arrested, detained and charged under Nigeria’s Cyber Security Law with some of them being accused of criminal defamation.

5. 2019 — Communications License Suspension

In June 2019, the National Broadcasting Commission suspended the license of Daar Communication Plc, a media and entertainment company owned by Raymond Dokpesi, a principal member of the opposition party, PDP. The company was accused of airing inciting broadcasts and media propaganda against the government.  In the same month, State Security Services announced a crackdown on social media users for allegedly posting inciting materials threatening the stability of the country on the internet.

6. 2019 — Anti-Social Media Bill

In November 2019 the Nigerian senate proposed the Social Media Bill to restrict the use of social media in transmitting information. Though the bill has not been passed into law, it is another attempt to stifle free speech.

7. 2020 — #ENDSARS Protests 

In October 2020, after thousands of Nigerian youths protested online and offline, calling for an end to police harassment and brutality, the Central Bank of Nigeria froze the accounts of individuals publicly linked to the #EndSARS protest. Travel documents of some of the protesters were seized and some were arrested and charged for criminal incitement.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

October 29, 2019

We are going to be attempting to guess when you’ll marry based on your favourite Nigerian foods. What does your fave swallow have to do with when you’ll tie the knot? Please, don’t ask complicated questions. This quiz is rigorous and accurate (don’t quote us), so just take it already. QUIZ: Why Do You Have […]

February 26, 2020

Are you all set for marriage, or are you still figuring it out? Well, if you’re curious to know the answer, then this is the quiz for you. All you have to do is create your own ideal Nollywood wedding film, and we’ll tell you if you’re ready to say “I do”. Go ahead:

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

More from Citizen

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X