Anti-corruption leader Mr Wada Maman was arrested on Saturday, 22 August, as he was travelling through Niger’s capital, Niamey. Mr Maman is a Board Member and Secretary General of the Association Nigérienne de Lutte contre la Corruption (ANLC), the TI chapter in Niger.
Mr Maman was going from his home to the home of another ANLC member, and as he was transferring from a minibus-taxi to another taxi, members of the Republican Guard approached him and asked that he 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.
Mr 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. The coalition recently suspended its participation in the 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.
Protests against President Tandja’s change of the constitution in order to extend his term in office were carried out over the weekend, leading 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 him a third term. Parliamentary elections are set for 20 October.
Complementing his anti-corruption work, Mr. 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.
TI is calling for a due and transparent process and immediate access to legal representation.