Twitter ban to be lifted soon – Lai Mohammed
Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed has disclosed that the ban on Twitter will end soon, after the Federal Executive Council meeting today. The meeting was chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Mr. Mohammed disclosed that the status of the conversation with the microblogging site had reached an amicable stage, with agreements reached in all areas except three. The remaining three unresolved areas, according to him, are simply a matter of ‘when and not ‘if’ there would be an implementation of conditions discussed.
According to the minister, Twitter is to establish a legal presence in Nigeria, registered as a Nigerian company with an office address, and an employee to serve as a country representative. While not turning down the proposition in totality, the micro-blogging site has maintained that the earliest it can establish a company is in 2022.
The Federal Government suspended Twitter’s operations in June after the social media platform deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari for breaching the site’s rules. The Federal Government explained that the suspension was not because of deleted President’s tweets.
How has been the reactions
On 1 August, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, stated that the Commonwealth is monitoring developments around the suspension of Twitter. Also, the allegations of repression of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, media freedom, and disregard for the rule of law in Nigeria closely.
Ms. Scotland said: “All Commonwealth member countries, including Nigeria, have obligations and commitments to uphold freedom of expression as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. This infringement goes against a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments.
The statement by the Commonwealth followed an Urgent Appeal by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). It urged Ms. Scotland to “apply the Commonwealth Charter to hold the Nigerian Government to account over the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and the resulting repression of freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
This development was disclosed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare who sent an Urgent Appeal. It was stated that: “The Nigerian government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not committed to protecting human rights. The Commonwealth should object to ensuring accountability of institutions, freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in Nigeria.”
Ms. Scotland responded, in a letter sent to SERAP, said: “I write to acknowledge with thanks, receipt of your letter dated 5 June 2021 highlighting concerns about the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.”
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