A coalition of civil society organizations among other stakeholders have formed a consortium in response to the continuous threats faced by citizens in exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, speech, and association.
While delivering his remarks, Mbasekei Martin Obono, the Team Lead at one of the group, Tap Initiative for Citizens Development explained that the consortium was formed in response to civic space attacks and will be giving legal representation to human rights advocates and defenders. He also added that the consortium will be carrying out advocacy campaigns in underrepresented communities.
In his words, “the diversity in the calibre of participants present an opportunity for both information clearing house, advocacy, mediation, support for victims and legal intervention in defence of the civic space.”
While delivering the keynote address, the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl-Michael Grans explained that “the democratic and civic space is shrinking globally, and countries across all continents have been affected by democratic backsliding. The Covid-19 pandemic and its secondary effects in the form of restrictions, curfews and lockdowns did not make things better.”
He opined that “To halt the shrinking democratic and civic space is a matter of great urgency. In the world that we share today, all countries need to return to the core values of humanism, democracy and inclusion, the right of free speech, the right of association and the right to express oneself without censorship or threats of violence is truly fundamental for a healthy and dynamic civic space. It cannot be stressed enough. The role of the state must be to guarantee and promote these rights, not to hamper them or diminish them.”
Some of the organizations making up the consortium are: Tap Initiative for Citizens, Heinrich Boll Stiftung among others.