Buhari govt. has let me down, pro-APC blogger says after regaining freedom

Abubakar Usman
Abubakar Usman

Abubakar Usman, a pro-government blogger detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a story he posted on his website, on Wednesday slammed the Buhari administration for allegedly enabling acts that contradicted the spirit of his campaign.

Mr. Usman, an ardent supporter of the ruling All Progressives Congress, vowed to pursue causes that would help engender a Nigeria in which citizens were not punished for exercising their freedom of expression.

“This is a government that I fought for. But occurrences like these are not the experiences that myself and millions of Nigerians have fought for,” Mr. Usman said. “Moving forward, I will be pursuing all legal and constitutionally established avenues to ensure that this does not repeat itself.”

Mr. Usman’s remarks came hours after he was released from detention, where he spent nearly two days.

Mr. Usman was taken from his home by operatives of the EFCC on Monday morning and his arrest and confinement sparked widespread outrage, with people of divergent political affiliations rising in unison to condemn the development.

Sources within his family said he was arrested over a story he ran on his blog on August 2, which EFCC deemed critical of its chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

A statement later issued same day by the agency said Mr. Usman was wanted for cyberstalking, an offence that allegedly breached provisions of Cyber Crime Act.

Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, did not list the specific sections that were contravened. He, however, noted that Mr. Usman had been given administrative bail subject to fulfilment of its conditions.

On Tuesday afternoon, his attorney raised the alarm over the ‘draconian’ bail conditions set by the EFCC —two directors in the federal civil service with landed properties in Abuja— pleading with the agency to “soften” them.

The agency obliged the request and Mr. Usman was released shortly afterwards without presenting any bail bond, his lawyer told PREMIUM TIMES.

News of Mr. Usman’s release spread quickly, and he thanked all his followers and others who lent their voices to his ordeal in a statement he posted on his blog shortly before 5:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Mr. Usman urged Nigerians to see his unpleasant experience as a stepping stone “towards the attainment of a more sustainable democracy.”

The Cyber Crime Act was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and many Nigerians had been accused of trespass under it. Two bloggers in Abeokuta and Lagos were arrested last year in separate cases.



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