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Peter Obi’s supporters petitions to ban dissenting voices faulted

Peter Obi’s supporters petitions to ban dissenting voices faulted

Concerned Nigerians for the protection of Human Rights and Rule of Law Initiative has condemned petitions by supporters of Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate to ban dissenting voices.

The group, in a statement by its spokesperson, Theophilus Agada, berated the supporters of Obi for calling on social media platforms to ban Reno Omokri, Omoyele Sowore, Deji Adeyanju, Sega Awosanya and other opposition voices in the country.

The statement reads partly, “It is the duty of big tech companies to moderate content that could lead to violence or illegal activity and not individuals writing petitions against opposition voices they consider as threats to their political agenda.

“The attempt by Peter Obi’s supporters to stifle free speech is anti-democratic and should be condemned by all and sundry.

“Free speech is one of the building blocks of every democratic society and as a group, we call on Obi’s supporters to stop threatening people who are indifferent about the candidacy of Mr. Peter Obi,” it said.

The group maintained that the Nigerian Constitution protects the right to free speech and freedom of association.

The statement further reads, “Incidental to these constitutional guaranteed rights is the right to support or oppose a candidate in any election.

“To hold otherwise, as Peter Obi supporters seek to do, will only take us back to the dark days of military regimes where free speech was criminalised and freedom of assocation was subject to the whims and caprice of the military dictator.

“May that day never return where dissenting voices will be deplatformed simply for having dissenting opinions,” it said.

 

The group, however, called on those inciting violence and pushing ethnic and religious agenda to desist forthwith.

 

The spokesman also reminded Obi’s supporters that the UN Resolution on Human Rights frowns at persons or governments who interfere with the right of individuals to seek, receive and impart information through any means of communication and digital technologies, through measures such as the removal, blocking or filtering of content, unless such interference is justifiable and compatible with international human rights law and standards.

 

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