SERAP urges Commonwealth to sanction Nigeria over Twitter ban

By Myke Uzendu, Abuja

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has appeal to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Hon. Patricia Scotland to invoke the Commonwealth Charter and hold the Nigerian government to account for the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and the resulting repression of human rights.

In the appeal dated June 5, 2021 and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization recommended the suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth to the Heads of Government, the Commonwealth Chair-in-office, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth to push the government to take concrete measures to respect and promote the Commonwealth’s values of human rights, transparency, accountability and the rule of law.

SERAP lamented that the Nigerian government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not committed to protecting human rights.

According to the organisation, Nigerians can only freely participate in the democratic processes and shape the society in which they live if these fundamental human rights are fully and effectively respected, protected and promoted.

The letter read in part: ”We urge the Commonwealth to publicly condemn the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and put pressure on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the unlawful suspension. Urge the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to respect freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom, as well as promote transparency and accountability and the rule of law.

”Urge the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the threat to prosecute Nigerians simply for peacefully exercising their rights through Twitter. Establish a mechanism to visit Nigeria to monitor and report on violations of Nigerians’ right to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom, absence of transparency and accountability and persistent disregard for the rule of law, and to get to the root of the facts and circumstances of such abuses, with a view to ensuring full accountability.”

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