Nigeria, Britain hold bilateral talks on Twitter ban, Electoral Act


Nigeria, Britain hold bilateral talks bordering  on Twitter suspension, Electoral Act

Nigeria and Britain on Thursday held a meeting to discuss bilateral issues bordering on Nigeria’s recent suspension of Twitter, the Electoral Act Amendment and the Petroluem Industry Bill (PIB).

Leading the Nigerian team at the meeting was the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) who has hosted the High Commissioner of Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing.

The meeting provided a platform for discussing bilateral issues relating to Asset Recovery, Anti-corruption crusade, amendment of the Electoral Act, the Audit Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, Twitter ban, and counter-terrorism approaches.

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The meeting lasted for almost an hour.

Malami said the fundamental interest and objective of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was to leverage the bills to enhance value in terms of creating an amiable environment for investment, protecting the public interest for the maximum benefit of the country.

According the minister, with regard to  the Petroleum Industry Bill, necessary steps have been taken to ensure the pending bills are transmitted to the President for assent.

Malami said the essence of the amendment of the Electoral Act was to enhance the democratic system thereby aiming at addressing delays in judicial determination of pre-election matters.

He said that it is also aimed at ensuring justice and fairness in the conduct of election processes including party primaries.

Malam further stressed that in order to  strengthen the fight against corruption, the government came up with the Proceeds of Crime Bill and Audit Bill among others.

The Attorney General also explained that the Federal Government came up with the Proceeds of Crime Bill and Audit Bill among others with a view  to strengthening  the fight against corruption

He said that public interest has been the uppermost consideration within which the context of freedom of expression should be regulated.

Malami noted that reasonable restrictions to freedom of expression are locally and internationally recognized.

“Our government is not averse to freedom. Freedom is not borderless.

“Freedom of expression must not be used in such a manner that incites citizens to violence or calls for an overthrow of a democratically elected government.

“There are bounds to freedom within the laws,” he said.

Explaining the recent  suspension of Twitter  in the country, Malami said the government has established a committee on the matter and that the company has approached the government over the issue.

He stressed that the interest of Nigeria matters most for any company that wants to do business in the country.

“If you want to operate as a business entity in Nigeria, you must do so within the context of Nigerian laws.

“Nothing offensive and nothing that breaches the Nigerian laws should be entertained,” he added.

Ms. Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, in her response, thanked the Minister for the “clarification” of the issues.

She said  that the steps taken in the fight against corruption and electoral reforms were “really encouraging”.

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