Twitter Ban: 70 CSOs ask FG to reverse decision immediately

At least 70 civil society organisations have asked the Federal Government to reverse the suspension of microblogging platform Twitter.

The Nigerian government suspended the operations of Twitter over alleged undue interference.

The action was taken after the social media platform yanked off a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari on Civil War.

The Civil Society organisations, in a joint statement issued on Sunday, expressed concern about the “repression and escalating crackdown on human rights by the Nigerian government, particularly on the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”

The CSOs described the suspension of Twitter as unlawful and chided the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) over its directive to broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.

“We strongly condemn the arbitrary and unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, by the authorities, and the resulting restrictions on the human rights of people, as well as the threat to prosecute anyone using Twitter in Nigeria.

“We also condemn the “directive” issued by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for all broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.

“Social media platforms have helped Nigerians to receive information, impart same, hold useful conversations, and hold the Nigerian authorities to account. A clear example is how social media was used to drive police accountability in the #EndSARs protests last year.

“The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and the country’s international human rights obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

The CSOs called on the Nigerian government to rescind its suspension of Twitter and withdraw the ‘threat’ to prosecute anyone using Twitter in the country.

They also called on the government to “Immediately withdraw the directive to broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.

“End widespread impunity for human rights violations, in particular the rights to freedom of expression including online, access to information and media freedom.”

“We also urge the international community, including the UN and the African Union to publicly condemn the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the decision,” the statement read.

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