The USA and European Union have expressed concerns over the Twitter ban in Nigerja for a indefinite period. International human rights groups have also condemned the ban.
Nigerian telecoms operators agreed to a government directive ordering Twitter’s indefinite ban beginning Friday after it deleted a tweet by Nigerian President Buhari. A joint statement by the diplomatic missions of the EU, US, Britain, Canada and Ireland condemned it too. “Banning systems of expression is not the answer,” it said.
“Precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added.
It stressed that a safer Nigeria could be achieved by more, and not less communication. Data from NOI’s polls states that over 39 Million Nigerians use Twitter.
It has played key roles in raising awareness about several happenings with hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS when anti-police brutality protests erupted last year.
Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet on Wednesday. Buhari had referred to Nigeria’s civil war 40 years ago as he warned about a recent uprising.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” the president had tweeted.
He referred to the miscreants behind the recent violence in the southeast. Authorities blame IPOB, a proscribed separatist group for attacks on police and election offices.
Meanwhile, the President’s office has denied any linkage between the ban and removal of the tweet.