Following their discussion with Nigerian Foreign Minister Godfrey Onyeama, the envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and the European Union in Nigeria have reiterated that banning Twitter in Nigeria continues to be a violation of freedom of expression.
They said this after meeting with Onyeama in Abuja on Monday.
At the closed-door meeting, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, spoke on behalf of the five envoys, insisting that the countries maintained their earlier position that the Nigerian government’s ban on Twitter violated Nigerians’ freedom of expression, despite the government’s concerns that the platform was being used to spread hate speech and criminality.
“We recognize the Nigerian government’s official position on responsible social media use, but we remain solid in our belief that open access to knowledge is incredibly vital, perhaps even more so at difficult times,” she said.
We’ve come as partners and want Nigeria to prosper. It is evident that we are Nigeria’s strongest security allies, and we recognize the difficult days ahead in terms of the security difficulties that Nigeria faces. While they are intimidating, they are not insurmountable, and working together with the individuals you meet here is one approach to overcome them.”
In his statement, Onyeama revealed that the Nigerian government was in talks with Twitter to figure out the best approach to settle the issue.
“We realize the power of words, and having that type of capacity to govern and enable communication for billions of people comes with responsibility,” he said. As a result, we’re taking this step to explore how far we can rebalance the media as positive forces and prevent them from being used as a platform for destabilization and criminality facilitation.”