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SERAP to drag FG before court after Twitter ban

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Following ban placed by Federal Government on American microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has concluded plans to drag the government before court if suspension placed on Twitter was not rescinded within 48 hours.

SERAP, who described the government’s actions on Twitter operations as illegal and unconstitutional, said that stance of the government was contrary to Nigeria’s international obligations.

The organisation, in a statement by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, on Friday, stated that the court actions would only be dropped when the government takes back its comment and lift the suspension.

The Federal Government had through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Adeyemi, announced that the government had placed an indefinite suspension on the firm.

SERAP said: “The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is a blatant violation of Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information. The suspension has the character of collective punishment and is contrary to Nigeria’s international obligations. President Buhari must immediately rescind this unconstitutional suspension. We will see in court if the suspension is not rescinded within 48 hours.”

The organisation added:  “Suspending Twitter in Nigeria would deny Nigerians’ access to information, and disrupt the free exchange of ideas and the ability of individuals to connect with one another and associate peacefully on matters of shared concern. It would also seriously undermine the ability of Nigerians to promote transparency and accountability in the country, and to participate in their own government.”

“We call on the Nigerian authorities to guarantee the constitutionally and internationally recognized human rights of Nigerians including online. Deletion of President Buhari’s tweets should never be used as a pretext to suppress the civic space and undermine Nigerians’ fundamental human rights”.

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