Niger: Shirking Accountability – Municipal Authorities Ban Protest March against Maladministration

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on January 14, 2017.

The municipal authorities in Niamey have prohibited a demonstration planned by civil society in Niger to demand better public service delivery.

According to the MFWA correspondent, a coalition of civil society organisations in the Nigerien capital scheduled a march on January 13, 2017. The protest march was to be climaxed with a rally to denounce inefficient governance of the city. However, the mayor, Assane Seydou formally notified the organisers on January 12 that the protest is prohibited.

Following the prohibition order, the organisers appealed the decision at the Niamey Tribunal. But to their disappointment, the court ruled in favour of the city authorities, citing “security reasons.”

Meanwhile, Article 23 of Niger’s constitution says “the State recognizes and guarantees the freedom of movement, the freedoms of association, assembly, procession and manifestation within the conditions defined by the law.

“Of course one of the conditions defined by law is manifest threat to public peace or national security. In the present instance, the defendants did not adduce any compelling evidence of real or even remote threat to public peace,” our correspondent reported.

The MFWA appeals to the authorities in Niamey to respect citizens’ right to publicly express their views about the administration of their city, including through demonstrations. As representatives and servants of the people, the municipal authorities should not shy away from demands for accountability and efficient public service delivery.