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UN: Nigeria’s Twitter suspension restricts right to freedom of expression

UN: Nigeria’s Twitter suspension restricts right to freedom of expression
June 08
22:41 2021

The United Nations (UN) human rights office has expressed concern over the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.

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On June 4, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria owing to “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

The suspension came three days after a post by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 1967 civil war was deleted by the microblogging platform.

In a statement on Tuesday via Twitter, the UN said the ban restricts citizens’ right to freedom of expression.

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“We are concerned by Nigeria’s #TwitterBan which followed a decision by Twitter to remove a Presidential tweet. Sweeping bans that intentionally prevent or disrupt access to, or dissemination of, information online severely restrict the right to freedom of expression,” it said.

In a joint statement on Saturday, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Norway, the European Union and the US had also kicked against the suspension.

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This prompted the federal government to summon the envoys of the countries to a meeting.

At the meeting, Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said Twitter’s operations in Nigeria will be restored only if the platform can be used “responsibly”.

He said Nigeria will not sit back and watch social media being used to “destabilise” the country.

Meanwhile, the microblogging platform had said it is “deeply concerned” over the suspension, adding that “access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.”

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“We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world,” it had said.

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