By Udeme Akpan
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the monitoring of Nigerians on social media.
In an open letter, SERAP asked the President to use his good offices and leadership position to instruct the military authorities to immediately end any monitoring of activities of Nigerians on the social media, and to ensure that military operations comply with Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and the country’s obligations under international human rights law.
In the letter dated 25 August 2017 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organization expressed a serious concern that any monitoring of Nigerians on social media by the military authorities would directly violate the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and privacy online.
”Instructing the military to end any such monitoring would help your government to defend and keep to its oft-repeated commitment to human rights, transparency and accountability,” it said.
The organization added; “Monitoring of the social media by the military is neither necessary nor proportionate, and could portray your government as working to control the political and social media space.
”Classifying legitimate exercise of freedom of expression as ‘hate speech’ is also counter-productive. In exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and privacy, Nigerians should be allowed to speak truth to power and stand up for their rights.’’