The ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government has been condemned by some supporters of the ruling party, APC, while others have declared support for it. The ruling party is, however, yet to make its official position known on the matter.
The social media has been agog since Friday following the decision of the Nigerian government to indefinitely suspend the operations of Twitter in the country.
Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, claimed that Twitter is being used for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
The government also said it has ordered the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all social media operations in Nigeria.
The development comes barely two days after Twitter deleted a controversial post by President Muhammadu Buhari referencing the country’s civil war, and threatening to treat those attacking government buildings “with the language they understand”.
Many Nigerians saw Mr Buhari’s statement as a veiled threat against the Igbo ethnic group who suffered the most casualties during the war.
For Twitter, Mr Buhari’s post violated one of its rules and it deleted the controversial post.
In reaction, Nigeria’s information minister, Mr Mohammed, said the platform chose to ignore the inciting messages from the proscribed secessionist group, IPOB, but was quick to enforce its rules on the president.
“Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. If Mr President, anywhere in the world, feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views. If an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.
“Two, any organisation that gives directives to its members to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centres, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that?
“I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed. By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with,” Mr Mohammed said then.
On Friday, two days after that statement, Mr Mohammed announced the suspension of the social media platform’s operations in Nigeria.
Many Nigerians have reacted negatively to this, accusing Mr Buhari of high-handedness.
Those who have condemned the ban include supporters of the ruling party, APC.
Kayode Ogundamisi, a supporter of the APC, described the government’s reaction to the ban as “the culture of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…”
“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” he wrote.
“Of all the options available, of every free advice given from different sources, legitimate cases turned into a spectacle. The culture of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory continues. Oro yin su mi ” the activist wrote on Twitter.
"if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging".
Of all the options available, of every free advice given from different sources, legitimate cases turned into a spectacle.
The culture of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory continues.
Oro yin su mi.
— Káyọ̀dé Ògúndámisí (@ogundamisi) June 4, 2021
Gbenga Olorunpomi, a former aide to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi and an APC youth leader, condemned both the ban and the use of Twitter for hate crimes.
“FYI: It is okay to say the decision to ‘suspend’ Twitter is terrible on one hand and accept that Twitter may one day destroy Nigeria on the other. Both can be very correct,” he said in one of his tweets.
FYI: It is okay to say the decision to 'suspend' Twitter is terrible on one hand and accept that Twitter may one day destroy Nigeria on the other. Both can be very correct.
— Gbenga 'Gøld' Ølørunpomi (@GbengaGOLD) June 4, 2021
In another tweet, he declared support for the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association to sue Mr Buhari.
“Don’t threaten… sue. I want the FG to face as many lawsuits on this matter to either legitimise it or force it to reverse course. Either way, we are all better informed about the limits of the government’s power.
He also attacked Twitter for deleting Mr Buhari’s tweet.
“Took Twitter more than 5 years of watching Teump spread hate and racism to take action. But, to delete a video that was of no harm to anyone, they took less than 48 hours. Not enough reason to suspend Twitter but @jack needs to look himself in the mirror.”
Took Twitter more than 5 years of watching Teump spread hate and racism to take action. But, to delete a video that was of no harm to anyone, they took less than 48 hours. Not enough reason to suspend Twitter but @jack needs to look himself in the mirror. https://t.co/l585keFwNX
— Gbenga 'Gøld' Ølørunpomi (@GbengaGOLD) June 5, 2021
For Adamu Garba, a known supporter of President Buhari who appeared on Channels Television on Friday, the federal government’s decision was accurate.
“I’m very happy about the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. The most stable in the countries in the world, like China, are the ones that control social media,” the former APC presidential aspirant said.
The ruling party, APC, has yet to make its official position known on the suspension. The party’s spokesperson Yekini Nabena, did not respond to calls and text messages by this reporter.
Meanwhile, major opposition parties and right groups have criticised the government’s action.
As mobile telecom operators enforced the government’s order Saturday morning, many Nigerians could no longer access Twitter directly. Many have, however, turned to Virtual Private Network (VPN) as a means of accessing Twitter.
A VPN is a secure tunnel between a device and the internet. VPNs protect users from online snooping, interference, and censorship.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...