GLOBAL watchdog, Amnesty International, on Sunday joined 70 other civil society groups, including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), to demand an immediate end to the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria by the Federal Government.
In a statement put out by the coalition, the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) were also asked to pressure the Nigerian government to allow for free speech in the country. The statement reads in part:
“We, the undersigned civil society organisations are concerned about the repression and escalating crackdown on human rights by the Nigerian government, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.
“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.”
The coalition noted that going by the ban on Twitter in Nigeria, as announced by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the subsequent directive to internet service providers in Nigeria to block access to Twitter, “we are concerned about an alarming backsliding on human rights across Nigeria as the Federal Government and state authorities continue to use the criminal justice system and repression to silence peaceful dissent, while failing to ensure accountability for violations of rights…
“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 coalition urged the international community to publicly condemn the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the decision.