President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

70 Civil organisations petition Federal Government to reverse Twitter suspension

*About 70 Civil Society Organisations have reacted to the suspension of the global tech giant as ‘unlawful’, slamming the National Broadcasting Commission over its directive to broadcast stations to also deactivate their Twitter accounts

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Concerned about purported “repression and escalating crackdown on human rights by the Nigerian Government, at least 70 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked the Federal Government to reverse the suspension of Twitter, a global technology giant and umicroblogging platform.

Recall that Nigerian Government has suspended the operations of Twitter over alleged undue interference and suspicion of colluding with forces aimed at causing problem for the most populous country in Africa.

ConsumerConnect had reported that the government took the measure after Twitter had yanked off a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari, supposedly referencing the brutal treatment meted out to a section of the country during its 30-month internecine Civil War between 1967 and 1970.

The Civil Society Organisations, in a joint statement Sunday, June 13, 2021, expressed concern about what they described as 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.”

According to them, the suspension of Twitter as unlawful and chided the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over its directive to broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.

The CSOs’ joint statement said: “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 National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for all broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.”

It further noted that the “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 statement added: “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.”

They, therefore, urged the Nigerian Government to rescind its suspension of Twitter operations and withdraw the ‘threat’ to prosecute anyone using Twitter in the country.

The organisations as well 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.”

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