SERAP seeks copy of agreement with Twitter
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use his good offices and leadership position to direct Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to provide a copy of the agreement recently signed with Twitter Inc, and widely publish the details of same.
The organisation also urged him to direct Mohammed to clarify the manner in which the agreement with Twitter will be enforced, including whether the deal incorporates respect for human rights, consistence with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and international obligations.
In the letter dated January 15, 2022 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Publishing the agreement would enable Nigerians to scrutinise it, seek legal remedies as appropriate, and ensure that the conditions for lifting the suspension are not used as pretexts to suppress legitimate discourse.
“Publishing the agreement with Twitter will also promote transparency, accountability, and help to mitigate threats to Nigerians’ rights online, as well as any interference with online privacy in ways that deter the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression.”
According to the body, Nigerians are entitled to their constitutionally and internationally recognised human rights, such as freedom of expression, access to information, privacy, peaceful assembly and association, as well as public participation, both offline and online.
In the letter copied to Mohammed and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SERAP stressed that any agreement with social media companies must meet constitutional and international requirements, including legality, necessity, proportionality and legitimacy.
It said: “Any conditions for lifting the suspension of Twitter must meet the requirements of regular legal processes and limit government discretion. Secretly agreed conditions will fail these fundamental requirements.
“The government has a duty to demonstrate that the conditions for lifting the suspension of Twitter would not threaten or violate the enjoyment of Nigerians’ human rights online, and that the conditions are in pursuit of a legitimate goal in a democratic society.”