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Updated: US, UK, EU Envoys Meet FG, Insist #Twitterban Violates Freedom of Expression

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Onyeama said that the Nigerian government was in dialogue with Twitter on the best ways to resolve the matter.

The envoys of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and the European Union in Nigeria, on Monday, insisted that the suspension of Twitter in the West African nation is a violation of freedom of expression.

The ambassadors stated this at a meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.

The minister had invited the ambassadors to the meeting over their recent comments on the suspension of the microblogging site in Nigeria.

In a joint statement on Saturday, Canada, EU, UK, US, and the Republic of Ireland said that banning systems of expression is not the way forward.

Speaking on behalf of the five envoys at the closed-door meeting with Onyeama, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, maintained the earlier position of the five ambassadors that the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government violates freedom of expression of Nigerians irrespective of the concerns by the government that the platform was being used to perpetrate hate speech and criminality.

“We recognise the official position of the Nigerian government on the responsible use of social media but we remain firm in our position that free access to information is very important and perhaps more important during troubled times,” she said.

“We are here as

partners and we want to see Nigeria succeed. It’s very clear that we are Nigeria’s strongest partners on issues of security and we recognise the daunting times in the way of the security challenges that confront Nigeria. While they are daunting, they are not insurmountable and part of the way to surmount them is the partnership of the people you see represented here,” Leonard added.

The envoys were optimistic about the Federal government reaching a common ground as it was locked in discussions with Twitter.

Onyeama also confirmed that the Nigerian government was in dialogue with Twitter on the best ways to resolve the matter.

He told the envoys that the Nigerian government is not against the use of social media but want to see it used for global good and responsible communications.

He said, “We know the power of words and when you have that kind of power to manage and facilitate communication to billion of people; it has to come with responsibility. So, we are taking this measure to see to what extent we can rebalance this media as forces of good and stop them being used as a platform for destabilization and facilitation of criminality.”

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