Outrage over Nigeria’s suspension of Twitter operations
By John Eche
Widespread outrage has greeted Nigeria’s suspension of the operations of the social media microblogging platform, Twitter, with many commentators on the subject faulting the action.
According to them, the action of the Nigerian government was injurious to free speech, the practice of democracy and the economic well-being of the nation given the sheer number of citizens that earn a living from their being associated with the platform.
News of the suspension had come from a statement credited to Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed.
Responding to the suspension, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) called on “the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately rescind the suspension within 48 hours or face legal action.”
In a statement by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said: “The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is a blatant violation of Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information. The suspension has the character of collective punishment and is contrary to Nigeria’s international obligations. President Buhari must immediately rescind this unconstitutional suspension. We will see in court if the suspension is not rescinded within 48 hours.”
“Suspending Twitter in Nigeria would deny Nigerians’ access to information, and disrupt the free exchange of ideas and the ability of individuals to connect with one another and associate peacefully on matters of shared concern. It would also seriously undermine the ability of Nigerians to promote transparency and accountability in the country, and to participate in their own government.”
“We call on the Nigerian authorities to guarantee the constitutionally and internationally recognized human rights of Nigerians including online. Deletion of President Buhari’s tweets should never be used as a pretext to suppress the civic space and undermine Nigerians’ fundamental human rights.”
Other respondents posted tweets on the subject.
is upset by the disciplinary actions meted on him by
after he violated their policy. However, Nigeria is more than the feelings of one individual.
Dr. Joe Abah
Talking seriously now, the Twitter ban represents a contraction of the civic space for free speech, dialogue and debate. Where certain users have used the platform to undermine national security, the government has the wherewithal to track them down and sanction them. Reconsider.
Mr. Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information Minister