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United States, UK, EU Envoys Reject FG Position On Twitter Ban After Meeting

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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 today.

The minister had invited the ambassadors to the meeting over their recent comments on the suspension of the microblogging site in Nigeria.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that in a joint statement on Saturday, Canada, EU, UK, US, and the Republic of Ireland said banning systems of expression is not the way forward.

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.”

punchng.com/us-uk-eu-envoys-meet-fg-insist-twitter-ban-violates-freedo


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The foreign envoys invited by the Nigerian government for discussions on the suspension of Twitter have restated their position for free and open internet that ensures freedom of expression to citizens.

These foreign mission in Nigeria had earlier given their reactions to the directives to suspend Twitter’s use in the country.

Mary Leonard, the Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria, on behalf of the delegates maintained that free access to the internet and ability to express oneself is very important and especially in troubled times.

“We have to be very clear that we are Nigeria’s strong partners on issues of security and we recognise the daunting task on the issues of security that confronts Nigeria,” Ms Leonard said, “While they are daunting, they are not insurmountable, and part of the way you surmount them is with the partnership of the people you see represented here.

Ms Leonard said the U.S. and other partners would continue to engage with Nigeria to uphold human rights and the rule of la[/b]w. She noted that while they recognise irresponsible social media use, they “remain firm in our position that free access to the ability to express self is very important and perhaps more important in troubled times,’’

Ms Leonard added that the incitement and violence referred to by the foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, were crimes the Nigerian government [b]has legitimate right to pursue through due judicial processes.

Mr Onyeama had mentioned that the suspension of Twitter is in the interest of national security and peace as President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on ensuring the peace and security of Nigerians and Nigeria.

“We believe as a democracy, that there must be the right to life, the right to property ownership and we believe in human rights and freedom of speech, but social media has to be used responsibly,” he said to the press.

The deliberations were held in Abuja on Monday, after the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.

On Saturday, Attorney General Abubakar Malami had threatened that the government would prosecute anyone found accessing Twitter after its suspension, though the legal implications of this decision is unclear as individuals cannot be prosecuted under laws that are unwritten and there are no legal provisions in existence criminalising the use of Twitter.

gazettengr.com/free-access-to-twitter-is-sacrosanct-foreign-envoys/?utm_source=ReviveOldPost&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost

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Twitter Ban Is An Attack On Freedom Of Speech - Kadaria Ahmed (Radio Now)

Radio Now says it is "not convinced a ban on Twitter, and a directive by NBC, barring broadcasting stations from using the platform is the right way"


A Lagos-based radio station, Radio Now 95.3FM, has faulted the recent directive from National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) that television and radio stations should deactivate their Twitter account.

The radio station launched in 2020 also challenged the regulatory body to go back to the drawing table.

NBC had warned that “it will be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronise the suspended Twitter.”

“We believe this amounts to an attack on the media and freedom of speech, both of which are guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria,” a statement by the executive director of the radio station, Kadaria Ahmed, read.

Ms Ahmed noted that section 39(1) guarantees freedom of expression as a fundamental right.

“Section 22 of Nigeria’s constitution guarantees press freedom by stating that the press, radio, television, and other agencies of the mass media shall at all time be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people,” she added.

She further explained that while the station will comply with the order, it will also engage with its lawyers on the legality of the order.

” We believe the notice by NBC goes against these laws. Radio Now will, under duress, comply with the directive of the commission while consulting with our lawyers on the legality of this directive.

“The advice we receive will determine our next steps. It is important to state that we too are dismayed at the direction our beloved nation is headed but while we recognise the responsibility of the government to act where it sees a threat to the country, we believe such decisions must consider the implications for press freedom, our fragile democracy & the impact on livelihoods.

“Solutions that continue to give Nigerians the use of what has become a tool for freedom, that has democratised information particularly for minorities and the most vulnerable in society; while also fighting against hate speech are surely the way forward.

“Radio Now is not convinced a ban on Twitter, and a directive by NBC, barring broadcasting stations from using the platform is the right way. We urge the government to go back and engage with experts, many of whom abound in the country, on how to fight hate speech, misinformation and disinformation while respecting and upholding rights that are fundamental in a democracy.”

The NBC order followed the federal government’s suspension of the microblogging platform’s activities in Nigeria.

The suspension was a sequel to Twitter’s deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial tweet about the civil war after some Nigerian users flagged it.

As a result of the ban, Nigerians have been denied access to Twitter and can only access by bypassing domain restrictions through alternative mediums.

Although the presidency says the ban is temporary and an attempt to curb fake news, human rights groups and foreign missions have berated the President Buhari-led administration for censorship, calling for a reversal of the suspension.
www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/466221-twitterban-nigerian-radio-challenges-nbc-says-twitter-deactivation-order-wrong.html

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Twitter Ban: Don’t Harass Foreign Envoys, PDP Tells FG, APC

The Peoples Democratic Party has cautioned the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government against “harassing foreign envoys and other members of the international community for speaking out against the infringement on the rights of Nigerians” by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The party said this after the Federal Government summoned envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada among others.

The envoys had stood on the side of Nigerians against the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria by the Federal Government.

The PDP, in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the Federal Government’s action in regards to the envoys smacks of intolerance towards the international community.

“The PDP is alarmed by the development which smacks of intolerance towards the international community as obtained in Idi Amin’s dictatorial Uganda of 1971 to 1979,” the statement read.

“Our party notes that there is no law or statute that prohibits foreign envoys from speaking out against clear violation of internationally enshrined freedom of expression and right to social interactions as provided by Twitter and other social media platforms.

“In fact, the defence of such rights is a fundamental duty which envoys owe their host nations and the international community.


“The PDP, therefore, cautions that any harassment or assault on foreign envoys places them at great risk as well as pitch our nation against other members of the international community.

“It is instructive for the APC and the Buhari administration to note that given the current downturn of our national life under their misrule, Nigeria cannot afford to be declared a pariah nation.

“The PDP is worried that the APC administration has been overheating our polity leading to escalation of insecurity, killings, bloodletting and violence in the country.

“Nigerians would recall that ahead of the 2019 general elections, one of the leaders of the APC, the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, had threatened that some of the foreign election monitors would be returned to their countries in bodybags.

“Our party, therefore, demands that the Federal Government should listen to the voice of reason, end its misrule and desist from infringing on the rights of Nigerians as being witnessed in the illegal and vexatious ban on Twitter.

“Already, the PDP is perfecting processes for legal action against the APC-led Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter and the directive to broadcasting stations to pull out of Twitter.

“In the same vein, our party is considering a directive to all our wards, local governments and state structure to commence peaceful civil protests against the suspension of Twitter, the spate of insecurity and the failures of the Buhari administration.”
www.google.com/amp/s/punchng.com/twitter-ban-dont-harass-foreign-envoys-pdp-tells-fg-apc

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We Did Not Give Any Condition Regarding Lifting Of Twitter Ban - Nigerian Government


The Federal government has stated that no condition was given for the lifting of a suspension placed on Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.

On monday, Minister of Foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama met with envoys from the UK, US, Ireland, Canada and the European union to explain the government’s decision on Twitter. It was widely reported that the minister stated the only condition to lift the suspension was for the management of twitter to commit to ‘responsible usage’.

However, in a statement made available to POLITICS NIGERIA on Monday evening, signed by Mr. Ferdinand Nwoye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign affairs, the reportage was ‘false’. The statement read;

“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to misleading reports by several media outlets published today, Monday, 7“ June 2021, in which the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama was misquoted as giving conditions for lifting the Twitter suspension.”

“The Honourable Minister after a meeting with some Heads of Diplomatic Missions resident in Nigeria was quoted to have said that “Twitter’s operations in Nigeria will be restored only if the platform can be used responsibly”.”

“This statement by the Honourable Minister has been quoted out of context. Contrary to the publications, the Honourable Minister was speaking generally about the responsibilities that go with freedom of speech, stating that platforms that have the power to instantly disseminate information among billions of people have the added responsibility to exercise that power responsibly.”

“The Ministry wishes to state categorically that the Honourable Minister did not give any conditions regarding lifting the Twitter suspension.”

politicsnigeria.com/breaking-no-condition-regarding-lifting-of-twitter-ban-was-given-fg-makes-u-turn/

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