Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) says terrorism charges are being used by Nigerian political office holders to silence and intimidate critics.
In a statement signed by Adewale Adeoye, executive director of the group and Taiwo Adeleye, programmes officer, the group said the anti-terrorism act has lost its essence because it has become a tool in the hands of the ruling class to fight criticism.
JODER said the cases of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, and Jalingo Agba, publisher of CrossRivers Watch are clear instances where terrorism charges are being abused by state and federal authorities to stifle public dissent against the various policies of the government.
“The Governments have finally decided to stop every form of criticism considered bitter to the authorities,” JODER said
“This is plot behind the charges against Sahara Reporters and CrossRivers Watch Publishers.”
The group alleged that the one of the judges who handled Sowore’s case was threatened.
They also alleged that restricting Sowore’s movement to Abuja as part of the bail conditions, is a ploy “to stop him from travelling round to gather news to publish”.
JODER asked journalists and the Nigerian public to follow the trials with keen interests warning that “the attacks may be extended to other media institutions and radical individuals in the nearest future”.