Dear Attorney-General Abubakar Malami SAN,
Our attention has been drawn to press reports of an indictment, approved by your office, against Olanrewaju Suraju, chair of the anti-corruption and human right group HEDA, for alleged cyberstalking.
As at the time of writing, we are assured that Mr Suraju has neither been served with the indictment (despite its circulation in the press) nor provided with any evidence supporting the charges.
We note that the indictment alleges offences under the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act.
We also note that the cyberstalking charges accuse Mr Suraju of having circulated documents that were accepted as evidence by courts in Italy and/or the United Kingdom.
We are gravely concerned by the intended prosecution of Mr Suraju.
It is a fundamental right to report on court proceedings and the use of the Cybercrimes Act to criminalise those who exercise that right is alarming.
We are also shocked that Nigeria should still be using the Act given the recent ruling by the ECOWAS court that the Act is unconstitutional and must be repealed. For Nigeria to ignore this ruling will send a regrettable signal that the current government does not respect international treaties to which it is a Party. Indeed, your own office has accepted that the Act needs amending.
We would therefore urge you to reconsider the indictment of Mr Suraju.
We will be closely monitoring the progress of the case and will draw our concerns to the attention of our governments and international human rights bodies.