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US, UK, EU Envoys Reaffirm Twitter Ban By Buhari Govt As Violation Of Freedom Of Expression

The envoys of the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union in Nigeria have maintained that the ban on Twitter by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari contravenes the fundamental human right of freedom of expression.

The envoys reiterated their position on Monday when they met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, asking the government to protect freedom of expression.

US ambassador to Nigeria, Mary-Beth Leonards, who spoke on behalf of others, said they would be happy to see Nigeria succeed, and that all challenges have solutions.

“We are here as partners who want to see Nigeria succeed. We want to see this place unified, peaceful and prosperous and that’s how all of our activities are arranged. I think we have to be very clear that we are Nigeria’s strong partners on issues of security and we recognise the daunting times and the array of security challenges that confront Nigeria.

“While they are daunting, they are not insurmountable and part of the way to surmount them is through partnership of the people you see represented here.”

She added, “We re-affirm our position that free access to the ability to express oneself is actually very important and perhaps more important in troubled times.”

The Federal Government, on its part, said it would restore Twitter operations in Nigeria if the platform would be used responsibly by the citizens.

Mr. Onyeama however hinted that there is no definite time for lifting the ban.

“The condition would be a responsible use of the social media and that really has to be it.

“We are not saying that Twitter is threatening the country or any such thing; why we have taken this measure is to stop them to be used as platforms for destabilization and facilitation of criminality or encouragement of criminalities.” 

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