NIGERIA: The Federal Government of Nigeria has suspended the operations of Twitter, a social networking site, in Nigeria.
The Government stated that the microblogging site is involved in activities that are capable of undermining the country’s existence.
The announcement was contained in a press release by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Friday.
The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the country’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
Reason for the Suspension
The reason for the federal government’s ban of Twitter Operations is because Twitter had deleted a post by President Buhari which Twitter had stated that it violated its rules.
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President Buhari had in a tweet shared on Tuesday threatened to deal with Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.
He also stated that those “misbehaving” by burning electoral offices were maybe too young to understand the gravity of war.
The deleted tweet read, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
He said Twitter had not banned incitement tweets from other groups.
After Twitter had deleted the tweet, the federal government through its Information minister called Twitter’s move unfair, labelling it “double standards”.
Mohammed declared that the President is free to air his view about an issue he felt concerned about.
“Twitter may have its own rules; it’s not the universal rule. If the President felt concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views”.
Reactions of Nigerians to the Ban of Twitter
Several Nigerians have declared outrage and shock over the ban of Twitter operations in Nigeria saying that the government should know that it is not in an era of dictatorship.
The majority of the people also expressed dismay over how a government that banned an operation of a site would still use the same site to announce its ban.
Currently, the hashtag #TwitterSuspendBuharisAccount is trending.
Reno Omokri in his tweet wrote, “The suspension of the activities of @Twitter in Nigeria by the @MBuhari administration should be ignored by @Jack. The Buhari government has no means to effect the suspension, and even members of the administration are still on Twitter. “
Hunan Rights Activist and former Senator, Senator Shehu Sani wrote series of tweets, “Twitter suspension;a bad legacy”; “Power is like the Balloon, Twitter is like the Pin”
Sweden in Nigeria in its tweet wrote, “Nigerians have a constitutional right to exercise their freedom of expression and a right to access of information. This must be respected. Safeguarding free, independent media and civic spaces for democratic voices is an important part of Sweden’s #DriveForDemocracy #TwitterBan”
Amnesty International in its tweet called on the government to reverse the unlawful suspension and other plans to gag the press.
“Amnesty International condemns the Nigerian government’s suspension of Twitter @Twitter in #Nigeria🇳🇬 — a social media widely used by Nigerians to exercise their human rights, including their rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”
A former Minister in Nigeria, Femi Femi Kayode in his Twitter account posted, “Suspending @Twitter from Nigeria simply because they removed a dangerous, irresponsible & insensitive tweet by @MBuhari is the most absurd and counterproductive move that the FG could have made. Whoever advised Mr. President to make this indefensible move is his biggest enemy.”
Other reactions are still trailing in.