Moses Akatugba – ‘His heart beats just like mine’

Tosin Francis is a passionate human rights activist from Nigeria. She tells us why she is supporting Moses Akatugba during Write for Rights, who was just a schoolboy when he was arrested and tortured. Last year he was sentenced to death.

Moses Akatugba was 16 when he was arrested. He told Amnesty he was hung up for hours, beaten, shot at and had his fingernails pulled out. He was then forced to sign a pre-written confession for armed robbery. Last year he was sentenced to death, despite the fact that he was a child when he was arrested.

Tosin Francis is a passionate human rights activist from Nigeria. She tells us why she is supporting Moses Akatugba during Write for Rights.

“Moses’ case means everything to me. His story could be mine. He’s a Nigerian like me. He has blood flowing in his veins like me and a heart that beats just like mine. I imagine the anguish he wakes up to every day, thinking about the death sentence that hangs around his neck. I think of his family, not knowing the fate of their child.

When I heard about his case, I began to research torture, to understand what it really is and its effect on the lives of its victims. I read books and watched films and found myself able to talk to others about it fearlessly and with compassion. And the response from everyone I’ve spoken to has been great. Supporting Moses gives me the joy of being an advocate of hope, justice, and fairness.

As rights activists in Nigeria, we do face challenges in our work: attacks, harassment and smear campaigns. But many are speaking up for their rights; awareness is growing, and we are hopeful. The Governor of the Niger Delta recently responded to pressure from Amnesty supporters and said he is looking into Moses’ case. We’re one step closer.

Everyone – regardless of their colour, tribe, race, beliefs or sexuality – needs to have their rights defended. No one deserves unjust punishment.

My message to Moses is: we all feel and share your pain. We are with you every step of the way – stay strong and don’t give up, despite this dark moment. You are always on our mind and in our prayers. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, that is what we all see and that is the only thing you should see. We are hopeful for a very positive response and we look forward to rejoicing with you soon.

Lots of love from the Amnesty family worldwide.