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Nigeria Placed On Commonwealth’s Rights-Abuse Watchlist Over Twitter Ban

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

August 01, (THEWILL) – The Commonwealth has placed Nigeria on its watchlist over the suspension of a microblogging platform, Twitter.

The body is monitoring repression of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, media gag and disregard for the rule of law.

The Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said all member countries have obligations to uphold freedom of expression as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter.

“This underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments”, Scotland noted.

Her comments followed the June 5, 2021, appeal by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urging the Commonwealth to hold the Nigerian government to account.

Scotland’s letter to SERAP was signed by Roger Koranteng, Officer in Charge, Governance and Peace Directorate.

It read in part: “The Commonwealth Secretary-General has been following the developments in Nigeria very closely and she is engaging the relevant stakeholders.

“Please be assured that the Secretariat will remain engaged with the authorities in Nigeria and encourage a speedy resolution of this matter.”

The Nigerian government on June 4, 2021 ordered all internet service providers to suspend access to Twitter.

The directive was sequel to the deletion of President Buhari’s tweet, which according to Twitter violated the rules.

The Federal Government also threatened to prosecute citizens and broadcast stations who continue to tweet; statement the Attorney General and MinisterofJustice, Abubakar Malami, had denied in a court affidavit.