Twitter: Nigeria sending ‘poor message’ to investors, US cautions
The United States mission in Nigeria has said the Federal Government’s suspension of the operations of the micro blogging and social networking service, Twitter undermines citizens’ fundamental freedom and also sends a wrong message to investors.
The US said in a statement said “Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression. The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses,” the statement reads.
“Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms. As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater.
“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity.”
We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.
— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USinNigeria) June 5, 2021
The Nigerian government had said the banning of Twitter in the country is “temporary” and insisted it was not a “knee-jerk reaction” to President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet being deleted.
Read Also: Why we suspended Twitter – Presidency
Spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari insisted on Saturday that the action was necessary. It said Twitter and other major tech companies must be held accountable for what goes on their platforms.
“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real-world violent consequences,” Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.
“All the while, the company has escaped accountability. Nevertheless, the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing. The censoring seemed based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria faces today.
“The President in his address at the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA in 2019 said, “the world was shocked and startled by the massacre in New Zealand by a lone gunman taking the lives of 50 worshippers.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has ordered the immediate prosecution of Nigerians accessing Twitter, through a virtual private network (VPN).
The marching order instructing the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation was contained in a statement by Malami’s spokesman, Umar Gwandu.
The statement reads: “Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has directed the immediate prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.