The United States 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Nigeria has referenced the case of a report linking the wife of the Governor of Akwa Ibom Governor, Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel as one of the instances of abuse of power by state actors.
Section 2 of the report which centred on Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: Freedom of Expression, Freedom of The Press said although the constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, the government restricted these rights at times.
It will be recalled that on August 17, authorities in Akwa Ibom State arrested a journalist, Ime Sunday Silas, for allegedly publishing a story captioned: Exposed: Okobo PDP Chapter Chair Links Governor Udom’s Wife with Plot to Blackmail Deputy Speaker. The deputy speaker was Rt. Hon. Felicia Bassey.
The news report by Ime Silas was said to have angered some persons in Akwa Ibom government house who were embroiled in political war of attrition.
The US report condemned the activities of government workers (state actors) for their utterances and actions which ran contrary of the constitution.
According to the US reports: “Civil society organizations and journalists expressed concern regarding the broad powers provided by the law on cybercrime. Some local and state governments used the law to arrest journalists, bloggers, and critics for alleged hate speech. On August 17, authorities in Akwa Ibom State arrested journalist Ime Sunday Silas following his publication of a report, Exposed: Okobo PDP Chapter Chair Links Governor Udom’s Wife with Plot to Blackmail Deputy Speaker. Authorities charged Silas with “cyberstalking.” Silas’s case was pending before the court at year’s end. The law on cybercrimes had yet to be fully tested in the courts. Legislative interest and calls for regulating social media increased due to concerns it plays a role in accelerating rural and electoral violence.”
Deaconess Martha Udom Emmanuel, founded the Family Empowerment and Youths Reorientation Programme (FEYRep) which has enabled her to actualise her vision of touching lives and improving the quality of life of the underclass.
In an earlier media interview, she explained the motive behind FEYRep; “Out of the five pillars of FEYRep, empowering women is paramount. At the risk of sounding boastful, with the help of God, we have been able to adequately empower over 2,000 women in the 31 council areas of the state in the last two years of FEYRep’s establishment. These include support for the elderly, health outreach (de-worming, eye and surgical care), reduction of maternal and infant mortality, economic empowerment through grants to individuals who had learned one vocational skill or the other by equipping them with the necessary tools and start-up funds.”