The Federal Government of Nigeria has summoned the envoys of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada and the European Union in Nigeria over their recent reactions to the suspension of Twitter in the country.
This invitation was contained in a press release issued on Monday by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Crisis Monitoring and Public Communications Division of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kimiebi Ebienfa.
According to the statement, the affected ambassadors are to meet with the Minister at 12pm on Monday.
The statement reads, “I am directed to inform that following the recent ban on Twitter by the Federal Government and Press Statement issued by some Heads of Diplomatic Missions Accredited to Nigeria on the subject matter, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama has invited the affected Ambassadors to a meeting today at 12 noon.
“The venue is Minister’s Conference Room, 8th Floor.
“You are hereby invited to cover the meeting. Thanks for your usual cooperation.”
Recall that the Federal Government had announced an indefinite suspension of the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, after the microblogging site deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the suspension was hinged on “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
Reacting to the ban in a joint statement on Saturday, Canada, EU, UK, US, and the Republic of Ireland, condemned the action of the FG.
In the joint statement, the envoys kicked against the decision while stressing that banning systems of expression is not the way forward.
The statement reads, “The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media.
“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.
“Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace and prosperity.
“As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals.”