Nigerians on Monday night resorted to using social media platform, Twitter, to call for the release of a ‘controversial’ blogger, Abubakar Sidiq Usman, who was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of ‘cyber stalking.’
The anti-corruption watchdog issued a statement on Monday on its official Facebook page confirming the arrest of Usman following repeated calls for his release after news of his arrest went around.
‘‘The suspect who is the publisher of Abusidiqu.com was picked up at his Kubwa, Abuja home in the early hours of Monday August 8, 2016 by operatives of the EFCC and is currently being questioned over the alleged offence which contravenes sections of the Cyber Crime Act,’‘ the EFCC confirmed.
The hashtag #FreeAbuSidiq has been vibrant on Nigeria’s twitter space since his detention. With some questioning whether it was within the remit of the EFCC to deal with ‘cyber stalking.’
Tweets with the hashtag expressed worry at the seeming undertone of gagging the media. Others chose to look at the lighter side of the situation given that Usman is seen as a pro-Buhari advocate. The leading opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also weighed in on the issue calling for his release.
Series of tweets chastising the EFCC
EFCC face your work… leave Abu alone. #FreeAbuSidiq— Zahra Zaraa Danejo (@tinkizee2) August 8, 2016
He has constitutional rights. EFCC face your work
Blogging isn't a crime. If content of blog is inaccurate, what u do is correct it, not resort to institutional vigilantism #FreeAbusidiq— RightsAfrica (@chairmanNHRC) August 8, 2016
Tweets poking fun at the situation
So EFCC has graduated from arresting 419 operators to arresting bloggers. When Mugu meets mumu the bottom falls off.. #freeabusidiq— Dr. Njakiri Damages (@DrDamages) August 8, 2016
The C in the EFCC now stands for “Cyber”… #FreeAbusidiq— Rex Showunmi (@remirex) August 8, 2016
Tweets with political undertones
#FreeAbusadiq now— PDP Nigeria (@PdpNigeria) August 8, 2016
#FreeAbusidiq doesnt mean we like his personality but a clarion call for freedom of expression.— Christopher Ekeji (@dodoincredible) August 8, 2016
Even though he had been granted administrative bail, some local media reported that he had failed to meet the conditions and was set to spend Monday night in custody of the EFCC.