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FG Summons US, UK Envoys, Others Over Joint Statement Condemning Twitter Ban

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Federal Government has summoned the envoys of United States, United Kingdom, Canada and European Union in Nigeria over their joint statement condemning the suspension of microblogging site, Twitter in the country.

The summon was contained in an invitation to pressmen issued on Monday morning by Kimiebi Ebienfa of Crisis Monitoring and Public Communications Division of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ThePunch reports.

 

The invite reads;

I am directed to inform that following the recent ban on Twitter by the Federal Government and Press Statement issued by some Heads of Diplomatic Missions Accredited to Nigeria on the subject matter, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama has invited the affected Ambassadors to a meeting today at 12 noon.

The venue is Minister’s Conference Room, 8th Floor. You are hereby invited to cover the meeting. Thanks for your usual cooperation.

On Saturday, a joint statement from Canada, EU, UK, US, and the Republic of Ireland said banning systems of expression is not the way forward.

The statement was titled, ‘Joint Statement From The Diplomatic Missions Of Canada, The European Union (Delegation To Nigeria), The Republic Of Ireland, The United Kingdom And The United States Of America’.

 

 

It reads:

The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media.

We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.

Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace and prosperity.

As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals.

It would be recalled that Twitter was suspended shortly after the company deleted a controversial civil war post by President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Though mobile operators have blocked their customers in the country from using Twitter, many Nigerians have switched to the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to bypass the blockage.

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