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Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Nigeria: Protect a brave human rights defender

    Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 14:58

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    If you could visit Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, you would find Maurice Fangnon. He is a professor there and he is also a human rights defender. 

    Nigeria’s government thinks Maurice is a problem because he complains about things he knows are not right. He has seen police officers violently attack people in his community. In one example, he watched them set fires to homes to force people to leave so their land can be used for building something else. Another time, he wanted the government to find out how a young man was killed during a protest.

    Maurice wishes the government would take his complaints seriously and do something about them. Instead, government officials want him to be quiet, especially if powerful people will pay the officials to do what they want. This could happen, for example, if a building company wants the land occupied by a community and pays the officials to force people to move.

    So Maurice has become a target for really bad treatment. Here are three examples. 

    Someone told Maurice they would find him and kill him. (Fortunately, the source of that threat has not done anything.) 

    Government agents once arrested him but gave him no reason.  

    After he asked the government to find out how a young man was killed during a protest, the government said that he was the killer. They still blame Maurice so he might have to go to court. That would take a lot of energy, money and time away from his human rights work.

    Maurice is very brave because he tells the government what he thinks of their actions. He knows that his complaints could result in bad treatment but he refuses to be quiet. He believes the right thing to do is to stand up for the rights of other people.

     

    WHAT CAN I DO?

    Please protect Maurice Fangnon by writing a message to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for Lagos State.

    •    Start with Dear Attorney General.

    •    Tell him where you are writing from. Or you could share with him a story about a time you stood up for someone who was being hurt or bullied or scared to stand up for themselves.

    •    Ask him to make sure that no one hurts Professor Maurice Fangnon.

    •    Urge him to make sure that Maurice Fangnon can do his work of campaigning for human rights without being threatened or scared to do so. 

     

    WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? 

    Maurice Fangnon would love to receive a greeting from you. Send him a photo, a postcard, a drawing, a greeting card or an email (ayalegou@yahoo.com). If you want to write something, you could encourage him to keep being brave. You could congratulate him for standing up for people whose human rights are in danger. Mail your message with $2.50 postage, or email it to

    Professor Maurice Fangnon

    Centre for the Defence of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa      (or CDHRDA for short) 

    9th Floor Bookshop House CMS 50/52 

    Broad Street 

    Lagos, Nigeria 

     

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