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Group frowns at prolonged twitter ban by Nigerian government

A group of Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOS’s) which include Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), and Socio Economic Rights and Accountability(SERAP) on Monday condemned the prolonged ban on Twitter by Nigerian Government.

Pelican Brief

Penpushing reports that the bodies expressed their displeasure at a press conference held in Lagos, noting that the ban is a disservice to the country and the citizens, pointing out that the ban has taken a toll on Nigerians, especially those making their livelihood on the internet as well as access to information by Nigerians.

The Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Gbenga Sesan said that, at some point, Nigeria will have to choose between progressing as a country through technological innovations or impoverishing its entire population

Penpushing further reports that, Sesan, pointed out that the ban was about the ego of President Muhammadu Buhari and lies of the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, adding that the present administration, having failed in doing its job of arresting criminals and terrorists who use social media, decided to stifle the entire population and make Nigerians suffer for it.

The Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative (PIN),  said according to netblocks Nigeria loses about $250,000 every hour since the Twitter ban, a figure arrived at using the Brookings Institution method.

Penpushing also reports that, in similar vein, the Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) Yemi Adamolekun, said the ban is a disservice to the Nigerian government itself and its people.

“It is a disservice to the government because government agencies like the NDDC were able to give real-time updates and keep citizens aware on COVID-19 happenings, but it is no longer able to do so due to the ban,” she said.

Penpushing reports that, Adamolekun noted that  Nigerian citizens are faced with several issues like unemployment, insecurity, poverty, and absence of a sense of belonging, yet the government neglected their concerns and moved to ban Twitter.

“If the government of Nigeria wanted to ban Twitter, they could have done it legally, but there is no document, either a legal document or court order backing their action, this is a gross violation of human rights,” she said.

The Director of Programmes at Media Rights Agenda (MRA) , Ayode Longe in his own remarks said as soon as the Twitter ban came into effect, civil groups jointly condemned the action, and called on the federal government to rescind the decision.

Penpushing further reports that, he said in response to the ban of Twitter in Nigeria, Socio Economic Rights and Accountability(SERAP)  led 176 concerned Nigerians to file the first lawsuit at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice against the government over the decision.

“Following the suit, the ECOWAS Court on June 22, 2021, issued an order restraining the Buhari administration from prosecuting or harassing any Nigerian for using Twitter or any other social media platform in the light of the threat by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), that anyone using Twitter despite the suspension would be prosecuted.”

Penpushing also reports that, Longe said the action was followed by another lawsuit  at the ECOWAS Court by five Nong-Governmental Organisatiosns(NGOs), including Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), the International Press Centre (IPC), Tap Initiative for Citizens Development (TICD), and four journalists against the federal government.

The Programme Director added that Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Nigeria also filed a N5 billion claim at the Federal High Court in Lagos against four mobile telecommunications operators in Nigeria over their blocking of access to Twitter.

Penpushing reports that, it is recalled that Nigerian government on June 4 declared ban on twitter, 48 hours after the site took down a controversial tweet by Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed and President Mohammadu Buhari.

The government, however, said it banned Twitter because it was being used by warmongers to destabilise the country, while critics condemned the ban, pointing out that  it is one of the attempts by the Buhari-led administration to gag the civic space.

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