As the temporary suspension of the microblogging platform, Twitter enters day 4, the envoys of the US, UK, Canadian and European Union (EU) have insisted that the federal government’s decision to indefinitely suspend the platform in Nigeria is not in the public’s interest.
The envoys stated this in a meeting with the minister of foreign Geoffrey Onyeama, affairs while acknowledging concerns about responsible use of social media, they said Nigerians need free access to platforms where they can express themselves especially in times of trouble.
The minister of foreign affairs had invited them after they all expressed their “disappointment” over the suspension of Twitter and proposed regulation of social media platforms in Nigeria.
The government had claimed that Twitter is being used to undermine the cooperate existence of Nigeria and some have argued the suspension may be connected to the company’s decision to delete president Buhari’s recent tweet.
At the meeting held in Abuja on Monday, Onyeama restated the government’s claim that Twitter is being used by groups such as the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to aggravate Nigeria’s security challenges.
Responding on behalf of the other envoys, Mary Beth-Leonard, US ambassador to Nigeria, urged the government to use judicial processes “within the scope of respect for human rights and the rule of law” in pursuing their goals.
“We have to be very clear that we are Nigeria’s strong partners on issues of security and we recognise the daunting task on the issues of security that confronts Nigeria,” she said.
“While they are daunting, they are not insurmountable, and part of the way you surmount them is with the partnership of the people you see represented here.
“We recognise that there are issues of irresponsible use of social media, but we remain firm in our position that free access to the ability to express self is very important and perhaps more important in troubled times.