Twitter ban: Commonwealth places Nigeria on watchlist


The Commonwealth has placed Nigeria on its watchlist over the suspension of Twitter, a microblogging platform.

The body is monitoring repression of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, media gag and disregard for the rule of law.

The Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said all member countries have obligations 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”, Scotland noted.

Her comments followed the June 5, 2021, appeal by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urging the Commonwealth to hold the Nigerian government to account.

Scotland’s letter to SERAP was signed by Roger Koranteng, Officer in Charge, Governance and Peace Directorate.

“The Commonwealth Secretary-General has been following the developments in Nigeria very closely and she is engaging the relevant stakeholders”, it read in part.

“Please be assured that the Secretariat will remain engaged with the authorities in Nigeria and encourage a speedy resolution of this matter.”

The Nigerian government, on June 4, 2021, ordered all internet service providers to suspend access to Twitter.

The directive was sequel to the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet, which according to Twitter violated the rules.

The Federal Government also threatened to prosecute citizens and broadcast stations who continue to tweet.