After social media giant, Twitter, deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, the Federal Government of Nigeria through its Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced on Friday the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
At the time of this report, Twitter was still active in Nigeria and users could access the platform, however, the ministerial statement did not indicate the time when the suspension would kickstart.
President Muhammadu Buhari had taken to Twitter on Tuesday to oppose the intensification of violence in eastern Nigeria and doused calls for a protest on June 12.
“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.”
In light of this, some Nigerians expressed their discrepancies on Twitter. In defence of the Federal Government, the Minister of Information and Culture stated that Twitter was trying to incite violence in the country, he further indicted Twitter for supporting the October #EndSARS movement, which saw wild youth protests across the country.
The end-user will most likely not be at the receiving end of this Twitter ban (knowing full well that, even more technologically sophisticated countries have found it hard to enforce these sort of things), but two things will certainly be affected;
- International reputation: It will set a global perception that the Nigerian government can take stifling actions on freedom of expression.
- Economics: It is worrying that the present government will ignore businesses/jobs that solely depend on this platform.
In any case, the government’s actions should be guided by the rule of law, not by the whims of those in power. Power is fleeting, and the law must be obeyed.
It is not too late for the Federal Government of Nigeria to reconsider this hasty pronouncement, President Buhari must do better.
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Echatah Patrick, has over 3 years of experience working in Content curating, communication, journalism and child development.