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Group Blasts Buhari, Rejects Conditional Lifting Of Twitter Ban

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SERAP, in a post on its Twitter handle called for the unconditional lifting of the ban to allow Nigerians to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been told to lift Twitter ban without any condition. 

A civil society group, Social Economic and Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) said this while rejecting Buhari’s statement that Twitter ban will be lifted if conditions are met. 

SERAP, in a post on its Twitter handle called for the unconditional lifting of the ban to allow Nigerians to exercise their right to freedom of expression.  

It wrote: “We reject ‘conditional’ lifting of ban on Twitter in Nigeria by the Buhari administration.

“President Buhari must immediately and unconditionally lift the illegal suspension of Twitter, and allow Nigerians to freely exercise their right to freedom of expression.” 

The group was reacting to a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that Twitter ban should be conditionally lifted. 

Buhari announced this in his nationwide broadcast to Nigerians on Friday, October 1, Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary.  

The government had placed a ban on the operations of the micro blogging site, Twitter, in Nigeria in June. 

According to Buhari, some social media users were responsible for the ban by misusing the platform to propagate fake news and promote religious and ethnic sentiments.  

He had said, “Social media is a very useful platform that has enabled millions of Nigerians to connect with loved ones, promote their businesses, socialise, and access news and other information.

“However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination.

“Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.

“To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021 to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.

“Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.

“The Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and have addressed a number of key issues. These are National Security and Cohesion; Registration, Physical presence and Representation; Fair Taxation; Dispute Resolution; and Local Content.

“Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.

“As a country, we are committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of our citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety.”

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