The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC has stated that the Commonwealth is monitoring developments around the suspension of Twitter and allegations of repression of rights to freedom of expression in Nigeria.
A statement by the organisation dated July 22 said, “The Commonwealth Secretary-General has been following the developments in Nigeria very closely and she is engaging the relevant stakeholders.”
The Commonwealth stated this in a letter sent through Roger Koranteng, its Officer in Charge, Governance and Peace Directorate, in reply to an appeal by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for interference.
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The Commonwealth said: “All Commonwealth member countries, including Nigeria, have obligations and commitments to uphold freedom of expression as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. This underscores a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights covenants and international instruments.
Please be assured that the Secretariat will remain engaged with the authorities in Nigeria and encourage a speedy resolution of this matter.”
SERAP had written to the The Commonwealth to complain about repression of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, media freedom, as well as disregard for the rule of law by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria.
SERAP’s Urgent Appeal to The Commonwealth urged Ms Scotland to “apply the Commonwealth Charter to hold the Nigerian government to account over the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and the resulting repression of freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
This development was disclosed on Sundsy by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
In the Urgent Appeal, SERAP had stated that: “The Nigerian government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not committed to protecting human rights. The Commonwealth should take a clear stand to ensure accountability of institutions, freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in Nigeria.”