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Nigeria’s Twitter suspension insensitive to COVID-19 pandemic, western nations insist


By Jake Aimuan

The decision of the Nigerian Government to place a ban on the operations of Twitter in the country has been criticized as an attempt to not only trample on the fundanental rights of Nigerian citizens but it is also an action that is insensitive to the reality and danger of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This assertion is contained in statement jointly issued by the diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The diplomatic group, in the statement addressed to the presidency in Nigeria, expressed disappointment over the suspension of Twitter as well as “proposing registeration requirements for other social media.”

The statement said, “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.”

Rather than place restrictions on free expression of opinions and online information sharing, the four western countries and delegation of the European Union to Nigeria said that Nigeria should expand the information space to enable effective dialogue among the people.

“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace and prosperity”, adding, “As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals.”

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