Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Twitter Ban: Canada, UK call out FG on freedom of speech infringement

“All Nigerians have the right to freedom of speech and the responsibility not to misuse that right.”

• June 5, 2021

Following the announcement by the federal government to ban Twitter operation in Nigeria, the Canadian and the British missions in Nigeria expressed their concern over the government’s infringement on freedom of speech.

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson, said Nigerian citizens have the right to freedom of speech and the federal government must not take actions that will suppress their human rights freedom.

“All Nigerians have the right to freedom of speech and the responsibility not to misuse that right. Any action taken by Government must be measured, proportionate and not supress basic freedoms,” @GillAtkinson11 tweeted

Meanwhile, High Commissioner of Canada in Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, via his Twitter handle said, that freedom of speech is fundamental human rights protected by the constitution and a cornerstone for democracy across the world.

He also said the human right should be protected while hate speech that could lead to conflicts should be prevented.

“Freedom of speech, used responsibly online and off line, and access to reliable information are fundamental human rights protected by #Nigeria’s constitution and a cornerstone of democratic life around the world. (1/2) #TwitterBan,” Mr Simard tweeted via @NicolasJSimard.

“These #HumanRights should be fully protected, while preventing inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech that could fuel tension and conflict. (2/2) #TwitterBan #Nigeria”.

On June 4, the federal government of Nigeria took measures to ban the activities of Twitter and other social media platforms after the micro logging site deleted President Buhari’s tweet for violating its community rules.

Mr Buhari had threatened to deal with “those misbehaving” in the South-East in the manner the Nigerian forces fought annihilated Biafrans during the Civil War, a sore reference in Nigerian history where over three million Igbos where killed in what has recorded as the most brutal genocide in Africa.

The president was reacting to the escalating destruction of electoral offices and other public facilities in the region that has seen growing calls for secession championed by IPOB.

Critics say Mr Buhari’s threat of a disproportionate action against criminals in the South-East betrays his disdain for the region wondering why similar rage was not directed to bandits and insurgents in his northern base where the criminals have launched deadlier attacks on the state and millions of people.

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