The Pan African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) in Nigeria has demanded that the Kano state government and the Upper Sharia Court in Kano immediately withdraw the threat to arrest or restrict ten entertainers and artists from expressing themselves through their songs and social media handles.
PANAF Nigeria views the government action as antithetical to democratic principles and values and also an infringement on the rights to freedom of expression by the artist.
In the press statement signed by the Communication Officer of Pan African Network for Artistic Freedom Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwuka, the network lamented that most entertainers, especially in Northern Nigeria have become endangered species in the course of carrying out their creative role as artiste.
PANAF Nigeria frowns at the consistent attacks, intimidation, arrest and sometimes violence meted on entertainers by those whose responsibility is to protect lives and property of its citizens.
It will be recalled that, an Islamic court in the Northern part of the country ordered the police to arrest and investigate 10 local celebrities for what it termed “immoral conduct” on social media that could badly influence youth.
The court order also called for their prosecution for singing and dancing to “immoral” songs and sharing them online.
However, PANAF Nigeria is demanding a stop to the harassment of the 10 celebrities and other artists in Northern Nigeria, especially citing the constitution of Nigeria which gives every Nigerian the freedom of expression.
According to Onwuka, Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides inter alia that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information without interference”.
He therefore calls on the government to immediately reincide its decision to arrest artists.