The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed on Sunday, August 1, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said that the Commonwealth is monitoring events in Nigeria in the wake of the Twitter ban.
Kolawole Oluwadare, the SERAP Deputy Director made this assertion on Sunday.
SERAP had stated that: “The Nigerian government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not committed to protecting human rights. The Commonwealth should take a clear stand to ensure accountability of institutions, freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in Nigeria.”
In its response, Patricia also noted that the body is “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.
“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.”
1st News learned that this statement was a sequel to an Urgent Appeal by SERAP; urging Ms. Scotland to “apply the Commonwealth Charter to hold the Nigerian government to account over the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria; and the resulting repression of freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
Responding, Ms Scotland in a letter sent to SERAP on behalf of the Commonwealth dated 22 July 2021.
It reads, “The Commonwealth Secretary-General has been following the developments in Nigeria very closely; and she is engaging the relevant stakeholders.”
“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 committed themselves; to uphold freedom of expression as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter; which underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments.”
The Federal Government on Friday 4 June 2021 ordered all internet service providers to suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
The suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria followed the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets; which according to Twitter violated the Twitter Rules.