Following the ban placed on the microblogging site Twitter by the Federal Government, Seventy (70) Civil society organisations have called on the Federal Government to reverse the ban and withdraw the threat to prosecute anyone using the app in the country.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the group on Monday. The group condemned the action by the Federal Government describing it as ‘unlawful.’
According to them: “We, the undersigned civil society organizations are concerned about the repression and escalating crackdown on human rights by the Nigerian government, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.
“We strongly condemn the arbitrary and unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, by the authorities, and the resulting restrictions on the human rights of people, as well as the threat to prosecute anyone using Twitter in Nigeria.
“We, therefore, call on the Nigerian authorities to immediately rescind the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and withdraw the threat to prosecute anyone using Twitter in the country,” the statement read in part.
The groups also blasted the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over its directive to broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.
They called on the Federal Government to, “Immediately withdraw the directive to broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.”
The groups said the Federal Government should put an end to the widespread impunity for human rights violations, in particular the rights to freedom of expression including online, access to information and media freedom.
They also call on the international community, including the UN and the African Union to publicly condemn the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and pressure the Nigerian government to reverse the decision.
According to the groups, Social media platforms have on a large scale helped Nigerians to receive information, impart the same, hold useful conversations, and hold the Nigerian authorities to account. It pointed to the #EndSARs protests last year as a clear example of how social media was used to drive police accountability.
The statement was jointly signed by Amnesty International Nigeria; CISLAC (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre); Global Rights; Nigeria Mourns; Business and Human Rights Roundtable; Tap Initiative for citizens development; Civil society consortium on civic space; Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Alliances for Africa; WILPF Nigeria; Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives; Akubeze Okocha; B.E.E Initiative; Access to Justice; Sterling Centre for Law & Development; Concerned Nigerians; JENNISON-PIUS &Co initiative; Education as a Vaccine; Invictus Africa; Dinidari Foundation; Raising New Voices Initiative; Centre for Impact Advocacy (CIA); Stand To End Rape Initiative (STER); BudgIT; The Interactive Initiative for Social Impact; Enough is Enough (EiE); Yiaga Africa; among others.