A famous Nigerian blogger, Abubakar Sidiq Usman, who was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of ‘cyber stalking’ has been released by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog.
This follows an intense critique over his arrest from online media sources and especially on Twitter. The campaign to have Usman released gave birth to the hashtag #FreeAbuSidiq.
The EFCC confirmed his arrest on Monday under ‘cyber stalking’ charges and added that he had been offered administrative bail. Since he could not meet the requirements he spent the night in EFCC custody till his release Tuesday night.
The reason(s) behind my arrest will be made known to all of you. I hope that we can use this to rectify the wrongs in our system towards the attainment of a more sustainable democracy.
Local media report that Usman had published uncharitable stories about EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu. Online activists insist that the EFCC was abusing its mandate with the arrest which smugs of wanting to gag the media.
ARREST AND DETENTION OF BLOGGER ABUSIDIQU IS A FATAL BLOW ON DEMOCRACY AND RULE OF LAW. https://t.co/7FLcDwkkNV— Abubakar Sidiq Usman (@MrAbuSidiq) August 9, 2016
Human rights advocates intensely criticized the EFCC for abusing freedom of speech and the human rights of Mr. Usman.
Usman on his part described his detention as “unconstitutional and thanked activists who “fought” for his release, adding that his release was a victory.
“The reason(s) behind my arrest will be made known to all of you. I hope that we can use this to rectify the wrongs in our system towards the attainment of a more sustainable democracy,” he stated in a series of tweets.
The youth wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) had also lambasted the arrest. Usman was a pro-Buhari activist in the run up to the last elections.