British envoy cautions FG against suppressing free speech — after suspension of Twitter



Gill Atkinson, British deputy high commissioner to Nigeria, says the federal government must respect the right of Nigerians to freedom of expression.


Her comment follows the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria by the federal government.


Lai Mohammed, minister of information, had announced the “indefinite” suspension in a statement issued on Friday by Segun Adeyemi, his spokesman.


According to the statement, the minister cited “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.


 “The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria,” Adeyemi added.


In a tweet posted after the announcement, Atkinson said any action taken by the government must be measured.


“All Nigerians have the right to freedom of speech and the responsibility not to misuse that right. Any action taken by Government must be measured, proportionate and not supress basic freedoms,” she tweeted.


Twitter’s suspension by the federal government comes days after a post by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 1967 civil war was deleted by the microblogging platform.

In a series of posts on Twitter on Tuesday, the president had condemned the attacks on government facilities in the country.


Citing a reference to the civil war experience, Buhari had threatened to deal with those “bent on destroying” Nigeria “through insurrection” in “a language they understand”.

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