The European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Canada, and Ireland have chided the Federal Government’s decision to suspend American microblogging platform, Twitter, operations in the country, describing the action as against the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
They further argued that the reasons including security given by the federal government for its actions could only be easily solved and casualties prevented when Nigerians are exposed to information particularly on terrorists and bandits activities.
The countries stressed that the indefinite suspension placed on Twitter operations could further escalate community transmission of coronavirus, saying Nigerians will not be able to have access to information that could further help curtail its spread.
Speaking through a joint statement issued on Saturday barely 24 hours after the government announced in a statement issued by Minister of Communication and culture, Lai Muhammed.
The joint statement reads in part: “We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline. Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions as well as share vital information in this time of COVID-19 pandemic
“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace, and prosperity”, it added.
Also the US argued that the suspension approved by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was in sharp variance with the constitution that the government promised to protect during its inauguration.
The statement reads: “Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression. The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses.
“Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms. As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater. The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity”.