Anti-corruption leader released in Niger while civil society continues to face pressure
Issued by Transparency International Secretariat
The anti-corruption leader Wada Maman who was arrested last Saturday 22 August in Niamey, Niger, has been released on bail, along with eight other men who were detained on the same day. His arrest and the ongoing intimidation of civil society in the country continue to be a cause of great concern for Transparency International (TI). Maman is Secretary General of TI chapter, Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption (ANLC).
At a hearing in Niamey, the Nigerien authorities charged Maman with participation in an illegal protest and two charges of damage to property. Maman did not participate in a demonstration on the day of his arrest which took place as he was travelling from his home to the home of a colleague. Maman is represented by legal counsel.
Further updates will be provided as the case develops.
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. Civil society representatives, including Wada Maman, recently suspended their participation in the Niger 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.
- PWYP gravely concerned at increased repression of transparency activists in Niger
- Urgent appeal from the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders [French]
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