OrderPaperToday – Paradigm Initiative has condemned the directive by the Nigerian government to ban Twitter.

The Digital inclusion and rights group in a press statement on the 4th of June described the ban on Twitter as an abuse of the rights of Nigerians not just to freedom of expression, but many other rights guaranteed in the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“This suspension, which is a reaction of the Nigerian government to the company’s enforcement of its platform rules, is aimed at insulating the government from criticism, especially by Nigeria’s youth who are over 70% of the country’s population” the group insists.

The press statement reads in part:  “It must be noted that Nigeria’s President has notably been insulated from every form of public accountability. He is perhaps the only president since the country’s return to democracy in 1999 who never grants live interviews or holds media chats. This move is therefore aimed at making him unaccountable to the people of Nigeria who constantly take to social media platforms to share their views on the actions and policies of the government”.

Paradigm Initiative stated that shutting down Twitter is illegal, illegitimate and unacceptable, while recalling that Nigeria co-sponsored a 2016 United Nations resolution which affirms the rights of citizens offline must also apply online.  The international organisation urged the Nigerian authorities to respect and enforce citizens’ fundamental rights as provided for by the Nigerian constitution and International human rights treaties that Nigeria is a party to. 

The press statement concluded by revealing that Paradigm Initiative “will further contact the Ministry of Information to get exact details of this announcement, and the legal framework that supports such undemocratic pronouncement. We advise all users of twitter and other social media platforms in Nigeria to download virtual private networks (VPNs) to enable them continue to use the platforms for their economic survival and social and political engagements while we all push back on this draconian order by the Nigerian government”

Recall that the Digital Rights advocacy group had in January slammed he Federal Government for shutting down the Website of the People’s Gazzete, an online newspaper.

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