We are monitoring closely repression, media freedom and disregard for rule of law in Nigeria.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, has stated that certain repressive events in Nigeria are being closely monitored.
This came after the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made an urgent appeal over the country’s Twitter ban.
“Apply its charter and hold the Nigerian government to account over the unconstitutional suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and the resulting repression of freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom,” SERAP had asked the Commonwealth.
Responding to this, Ms Scotland said;
“We are closely monitoring developments around the suspension of Twitter, and allegations of repression of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, media freedom, as well as disregard for the rule of law in Nigeria.
“Please be assured that the Secretariat will remain engaged with the authorities in Nigeria and encourage a speedy resolution of this matter.
“All Commonwealth member countries, including Nigeria, have obligations and commitments to uphold freedom of expression as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. This underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments.”
Acknowledging the Commonwealth letter, SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said;
“We are very delighted that our letter and the concerns that it raises have caught the attention of the Commonwealth Secretary-General. Given her public record for justice and human rights, we have absolutely no doubt that she will prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari administration to lift the unlawful suspension of Twitter, respect human rights, and obey the rule of law.
“But it should never have reached this level, as the government has absolutely no justification to suspend Twitter in Nigeria. The Buhari administration ought to have complied with the Commonwealth Charter and other similar human rights standards as a matter of routine.”
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