Authorities in Nigeria must not shut down social media or in any way interfere with internet access throughout the upcoming elections.
Through an open letter, Access Now, Paradigm Initiative, and the #KeepItOn coalition are calling on authorities to ensure that the internet, social media platforms, and all other communication channels remain free, open, secure, inclusive, and accessible prior to, during, and after the general election scheduled for February 25, 2023 and the gubernatorial elections on March 11, 2023.
This call for connectivity comes after authorities blocked Twitter in June 2021, leading to the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) declaring the shutdown as “unlawful and inconsistent with the country’s international obligations.”
The #KeepItOn coalition is calling on the government of Nigeria and telecommunication providers working in the country to:
- Publicly assure people in Nigeria that the internet will remain open, accessible, inclusive, and secure across the country before, during, and after the election;
- Refrain from ordering the interruption of telecommunications services, social media platforms, and other digital communication platforms;
- Ensure that telecommunications and internet service providers implement all necessary measures to provide high-quality, secure, unrestricted, and uninterrupted internet access;
- Ensure that telecommunication and internet service providers inform internet users of any potential disruptions, and take all reasonable steps to fix any identified disruptions likely to impact the quality of service; and,
- Uphold national and international laws and obligations including Nigeria’s Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court judgement.
Read the open letter.