ABUJA — The leading opposition party in Nigeria, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the United Kingdom, United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and other international community members to immediately impose a visa ban on President Muhammadu Buhari for stifling free speech in Nigeria.
The PDP said the ban should be extended to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP, who was reacting to the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday, said the suspension violated the United Nations International Charter on Human Rights.
The party insisted that banning Twitter in Nigeria is a clear violation of Article 19 of the UN Charter, and Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guaranteed freedom of expression for all Nigerians.
The statement accused President Buhari of harassing and threatening Nigerians with violence, adding that the ban should also be extended to family members of the targeted officials.
The statement said: “For the avoidance of doubt, Article 19 of the UN Charter on Human Rights provides that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
“In the same vein, Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
“Our party holds that the trio of President Buhari, Lai Mohammed, and Abubakar Malami and their agents cannot continue to enjoy diplomatic privileges and rights extended by virtue of their offices in Nigeria, while at the same time blatantly flouting the UN Charter, which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as the 1999 Constitution (as amended) upon which provisions they hold office.
“This is more so as the stifling of information flow as being witnessed in the ban on Twitter further creates an enabling environment for abuse of human rights and acts of terrorism in our country”
The PDP also called on the international community to hold the trio of President Buhari, Lai Mohammed, and Malami responsible for the escalated abuse of human rights, constitutional violations as well as the situations that embolden terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and vandals in the country.
“Furthermore, our party has commenced the compilation of a list of APC leaders involved in the infringing on the rights of Nigerians for onward transmission to the UN and other world bodies for sanctions”.