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Nigeria: dozens of civil society groups demand end to Twitter ban

Social media has been vital in protest campaigns like #EndSARS © AFP via Getty Images

Seventy groups in joint condemnation of blocking of Twitter after President Buhari’s tweet deleted

UN and African Union called on to intervene

Social media has been vital in protest campaigns like #EndSARS

Dozens of human rights and civil society groups have demanded an end to the Nigerian government’s ongoing blocking of Twitter in the country. 

The groups - including Amnesty International, the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria - have also condemned a “directive” issued by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission for all broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.

On 4 June, Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and Culture announced a ban on Twitter and directed internet service providers in the country to block access to the site. The move came after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari’s was deleted by Twitter. 

The Nigerian authorities are also intending to force social media platforms to register in Nigeria and comply with local regulations before they are licensed to operate. Other planned restrictions include legislative bills (the “Hate Speech Bill and “Social Media Bill”) which could see severe punishments, including the death penalty.

Social media platforms have played a significant part in campaigns for justice and accountability in Nigeria in recent years, notably #EndSARs protests last year. The coalition of civil society groups say they are “seriously concerned” at an escalating crackdown on human rights by the Nigerian government - particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom - and they “strongly condemn the arbitrary and unlawful” suspension of Twitter.

The suspension of Twitter is inconsistent and incompatible with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and the country’s international human rights obligations - including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

The 70 human rights and civil society groups are urging the international community - including the United Nations and the African Union - to publicly condemn the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and to put pressure on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the decision. They are also calling on the Nigerian authorities to:

*Immediately rescind the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and withdraw the threat to prosecute anyone using Twitter in the country

*Immediately withdraw the directive to broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts.

*End widespread impunity for human rights violations, in particular the right to freedom of expression

Groups protesting against ban

Amnesty International Nigeria

CISLAC (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre)

Global Rights

Nigeria Mourns 

Business and Human Rights Roundtable 

Tap Initiative for citizens development

Civil Society Consortium on Civic Space

Centre for Democracy and Development

Alliances for Africa

WILPF Nigeria

Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives

Akubeze Okocha, B.E.E Initiative

Access to Justice

Sterling Centre for Law & Development

Concerned Nigerians

JENNON-PIUS & Co Initiative 

Education as a Vaccine

Invictus Africa

Dinidari Foundation

Raising New Voices Initiative

Centre for Impact Advocacy

Stand To End Rape Initiative

The Interactive Initiative for Social Impact

Dorothy Njemanze Foundation


Deaf Women Aloud Initiative

Lex Initiative for Rights Advocacy and Development

Sesor Empowerment Foundation

Legal Defence and Assistance Project

CLEEN Foundation

Centre for Democratic Research and Training

Zero-Corruption Coalition

National Procurement Watch Platform

Community Action for Popular Participation

Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress

Tax Justice and Governance Platform

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria

Women in Nigeria

State of the Union

Organisation Community Civic Engagement

Say NO Campaign-Nigeria

Women in Media 

Civil Rights Concern 

Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability

International Press Centre

Enough is Enough

African Centre for Media & Information Literacy 

African Women in Media

Social Action

Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action

Rainbow Watch and Development Centre

Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre 

Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative 

Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution

The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa

Yiaga Africa


Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project

Bauchi Human Rights Network

Edo Civil Society Organisations


Avocats Sans Frontières France

The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria

Elixir Trust Foundation

International Human Rights and Equity Defense Foundation

Women, Law and Development Initiative Africa

Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy

Paradigm Initiative

Minority Gender Action

Partners west Africa

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