The Federal government (FG) of Nigeria is announcing the indefinite suspension of the operations of Twitter in Nigeria. This announcement comes after Twitter also removed tweets shared by President Buhari and suspended his account for 12 hours.
In a press release, also shared on the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture’s Twitter account, it “cites the persistent use of the platform [Twitter] for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” as the reason for the suspension. The FG is also directing the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to “commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”
Twitter users in Nigeria are already looking to use VPNs to bypass the blackout if implemented by internet service providers in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government and Twitter have been at each others neck since the EndSARS protests that occurred last year. This saw Twitter choosing to set up its Africa headquarters in Ghana instead of Nigeria as widely thought. Twitter noted “Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate” for their choice.
On Wednesday 2nd June, it appears the situation took on a new dimension when President Muhammadu Buhari put out a series of tweets that got called out by Nigerians on Twitter. Twitter removed the president’s tweets for violating its abusive behaviour policy. The company then suspended his account for 12 hours.
Amnesty International Nigeria and other nonprofit legal and advocacy groups are calling the move illegal. And an infringement on the freedom of expression and access to information rights of Nigerians.
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