The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to provide a copy of agreement made with Twitter that fostered the recent ban suspension.
In the letter dated January 15, 2022, and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, it also urged Buhari to direct Mohammed to clarify the manner and scope in which the agreement with Twitter would be enforced, including whether the agreement incorporates respect for human rights, consistent with the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and international obligations.
The letter, read in part: “Any agreement with social media companies must meet constitutional and international requirements, including legality, necessity, proportionality and legitimacy.
“This means that any conditions for lifting the suspension of Twitter must meet the requirements of regular legal processes and limit government discretion. Secretly agreed conditions will fail these fundamental requirements.
“It is stated in the statement by the federal government that Twitter has reached an agreement with the government ‘to manage prohibited publication in line with Nigerian laws.’ We would be grateful for clarifications on the definition of ‘prohibited information,’ and the specific applicable Nigerian laws in the context of the agreement.
“We would be grateful if the requested information and details are provided to us within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action in the public interest to compel your government to comply with our request.
“According to our information, the approval was given to lift the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am 13th January 2022 following the memo sent to you by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
“The decision to lift the suspension was reportedly based on the recommendations by the Technical Committee on Nigeria-Twitter Engagement. The letter was copied to Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”
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