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MRA, PIN, EiE Nigeria fault FG’s continued Twitter ban

By Sunday Aikulola
19 September 2021   |   3:13 am
Leading Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have condemned the continued ban on Twitter by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

[FILES] Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, speaks during an interview on Nigeria’s suspension of Twitter in Abuja, Nigeria, on June 9, 2021. – Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed told AFP Twitter had sought talks with the government, which last week suspended the platform’s operations in the country, saying it was used for activities threatening the country’s stability.<br />The Twitter ban on June 4, 2021 has provoked outcry from the United Nations, foreign governments and rights groups who are concerned about repression of media freedoms. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Leading Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria have condemned the continued ban on Twitter by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The organisations that included Media Right Agenda (MRA), Paradigm Initiative (PIN), and Enough Is Enough (EiE), in the conference to mark 100 days of the ban, maintained that the FG disregarded rule-of-law in the ban and the citizens are feeling its negative consequences.

The Executive Director, EiE, Nigeria, Yemi Adamolekun, described the ban as a disservice, as the government in a bid to stifle its citizens, had also destroyed the positive impact of agencies as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which, up until the ban, provided COVID-19 updates and kept citizens aware and conscious of the pandemic.

According to her, the country has such issues as unemployment, Coronavirus pandemic, insecurity, and poverty, yet the government neglected these concerns but moved to ban Twitter.

“If the government of Nigeria wanted to ban Twitter, it could have done it legally. But there was no document, neither a legal document nor a court order backing its action.

This is a gross violation of human rights, and we must hold the government accountable.”

Executive Director, PIN, Gbenga Sesan, noted that the present administration, having failed in doing its job of arresting criminals and terrorists, who use social media, decided to stifle the entire population and make Nigerians suffer for its failings.

On his part, Director, Programmes, MRA, Ayode Longe, said as soon as the Twitter ban came into effect, civil groups jointly condemned the action, and called on the FG to withdraw the order.

Longe started that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) led 176 concerned Nigerians to file the first lawsuit at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice against the government.

The group observed that the prolonged ban reflected the government’s poor understanding of a truly democratic state, as well as the government’s shameless use of fear and threats in passing draconian orders.

The group reiterated its positions in pursuing the various suits filed against the FG, ensuring that the voices of Nigerians are heard, encouraging the citizenry to stand their ground in exercising their rights, as upheld by the Nigerian Constitution.