T.I.: Anti-corruption leader arrested in Niger as civil society faces increased intimidation
August 24th, 2009
August 24th, 2009
Transparency International has released the following release highlighting their concern about the arrest of anti-corruption leader Wada Maman in Niger:
Transparency International (TI) is seriously concerned about the arrest in Niger, of Wada Maman, Board Member and Secretary General of TI chapter, the Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption (ANLC).
The arrest, on Saturday 22 August, took place as Maman made his way across the Nigerien capital, Niamey. He was travelling from his home to the home of another ANLC member and transferring from a minibus-taxi to another taxi when members of the Republican Guard asked him to follow them. Since then, Maman has been held without charges at a police camp in the city and has not had access to a lawyer. TI is calling for a due and transparent process and immediate access to legal representation.
Maman is a founding member of the ANLC and a leading member of the Publish What you Pay national coalition in Niger, known as ROTAB. The coalition recently suspended its participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a process to further transparency in the management of natural resources, due to increased intimidation of civil society activists working on transparency and good governance.
Complementing his anti-corruption work, Maman had recently become Secretary General of the Front Uni pour la Sauvegarde des Acquis Démocratiques (FUSAD), a network of NGOs established to preserve democratic structures in the context of Niger’s ongoing political crisis. The ANLC is a member organisation of that network.
In an open letter to Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja in July, ANLC, supported by 48 TI chapters around the world, called on the government to respect the rule of law, safeguard an independent judiciary and guarantee functioning democratic institutions that would further transparency, accountability and good governance.
Protests against President Tandja’s change of the constitution in order to extend his term in office carried out over the weekend, led to the arrest of at least 10 people, according to news reports. Maman was not part of these protests. President Tandja also dissolved Niger’s top court and parliament as part of a systemic overhaul and referendum held to allow a third term. Parliamentary elections are set for 20 October.