The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced it had lifted the ban on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, effective 12 a.m., Thursday.
Access to the platform has since been restored and Nigerians, for the first time in seven months, are accessing the site without the aid of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Following the lifting of the ban, many Nigerians are reacting in different ways, most attributing the decision to lift the ban to the upcoming general election in 2023 and the government’s intention to use the platform for its campaign.
According to Ugochukwu Ugwoke, a Twitter user, “the Nigerian government lifted the ban on Twitter not because they care about the people but because elections are around the corner and they will be needing Twitter platform for their social media campaigns.”
“Election is around the corner, so they wanna act like saints. I hope Nigerians will be wise this time around,” a Twitter user, Oge, wrote.
Sani Kadiri asked, “What’s an election campaign without Twitter?
Another user, Idris, said he knew when campaign season is around the corner, the ban will be lifted.
“Not FG lifting the #TwitterBan 13 months to election, so they can come back and use this same social media to campaign. Affliction shall not rise a second time,” Queen Esther Iroanusi tweeted.
Akintunde Babatunde wrote, “they had to lift the #Twitterban. Election is nigh. They need the platform more than ever. Shameless people. #KeepitOn.”
Others have asked that telecommunication companies be held accountable for obeying an illegal order and infringing on the rights of Nigerians.
“When we are done with @MBuhari, let’s talk about the telecommunication companies that obeyed an illegal order from the Federal Government. Those guys prioritised their business interests over the fundamental rights of millions of Nigerians,” Ridwan, a lawyer, tweeted.
He added that “when an illegal order is given to you by a draconian government, the first thing you do is to approach the court to seek protection from such an order. Instead, they obeyed, despite knowing that it has no legal basis.”
Adetola Olutosin, while reacting to MTN’s ‘we are back’ tweet wrote, “Fascist enablers. At least you guys dispel the myth that private corps exist to entrench ”democracy”, if fascism is profitable, you won’t hesitate to throw the people under the bus.”
For Inibehe Effiong, the lifting of the ban on Twitter does not call for celebration. It calls for retribution by the sane, conscious and conscientious electorates during the next elections.
“As Nigerians, we must imbibe the culture of punishing parties and officeholders, who inflict pains on us,” he noted.
“A regime/party that stifles free speech, promotes draconian policies and suffocates citizens should be dealt with at the polls by citizens. That is how we are going to build an accountable and a viable democratic country with the rule of law. Buhari’s regime shouldn’t be praised.”
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