CSOs lament Twitter ban, demand conducive environment for businesses

An international organisation, Global Rights, in collaboration with Public Policy Initiatives, Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders, Oxfam, Paradigm Initiative, CSR-in-Action, SBM Intelligence, among other civil society organisations (CSOs), has lamented the ban on micro blogging site, Twitter, saying that the losses necessitated by the ban are unquantifiable.

It said the loss is not restricted to finance as lack of information has also led to loss of lives and property.

Addressing participants Wednesday in Abuja during a workshop on business, human rights and the shrinking civic space, the executive director of Global Rights (Nigeria), Abiodun Baiyewu, said that many policies have been closing down in Nigeria or relocating as a result of insecurity and bad government policies.

She said: “The core take-away from this workshop is that businesses and human rights defenders share the same space. The space could be physical or digital. The current security challenges in Nigeria is affecting all of us and we must work together to deal with these challenges. Businesses are stronger and thrive in stronger democracies. So, we are making a case for investments and businesses to ensure that the civic space is healthy.

“Civil society organisations have already mentioned the financial losses necessitated by Twitter ban, but the losses are bigger. You know that most people get their information on COVID-19 from Twitter, for example. However, since the ban, the number of infections is no longer stated on Twitter. That resulted in an upsurge in number of cases recorded in Nigeria. So, we have lost people because of the Twitter ban. So, it is not just about public health, but also about public safety.

“When places are being attacked, people would raise their voices on Twitter and call the attention of security forces, but that is no longer happening and businesses are getting away with shabbily treating customers. So, why we cannot quantify the losses, in terms of money, like government did, these losses are real, deep and affect not just our democracy, but our welfare as Nigerians, which government is mandated to protect.”

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