FGN Meeting with Envoys of US, UK, EU, Canada, and Other Countries Ended With Nigerian Govt Warned To End Twitter Ban in the Next 48 Hours.
The envoys of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and the European Union in Nigeria, on Monday, insisted that the suspension of Twitter in the West African nation is a violation of freedom of expression.
The ambassadors stated this at a meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja on Monday
The statement partly read, “The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media.
“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as 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 the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Speaking on behalf of the five envoys at a closed-door meeting with Onyeama on Monday, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, maintained the earlier position of the five ambassadors that the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government violates freedom of expression of Nigerians irrespective of the concerns by the government that the platform was being used to perpetuate hate speech and criminality.
“We recognize the official position of the Nigerian government on the responsible use of social media but we remain firm in our position that free access to information is very important and perhaps more important during troubled times,” she said.
“We are here as partners and we want to see Nigeria succeed. It’s very clear that we are Nigeria’s strongest partners on issues of security and we recognize the daunting times in the way of the security challenges that confront Nigeria. While they are daunting, they are not insurmountable and part of the way to surmount them is the partnership of the people you see represented here,” Leonard added.