Nigeria Extends Twitter Ban To Public and Private Broadcasters
The Nigerian government’s ban against the popular social media platform Twitter now includes private and public broadcasters. The order follows days after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari banned Nigerian citizens from using Twitter. This after the popular social media platform had deleted his tweet for allegedly inciting violence. Buhari denied that his tweet was prompting violence against Nigerians residing in the east region, and has since been on a maddening rampage which, in turn, has infringed on Nigerians’ freedom of speech.
In a strategic political move, Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo Olu has alluded that the ban is a temporary suspension and suggested that it would be mitigated by Twitter opening up an office in Nigeria where over 40 million Twitter users currently reside.
According to Peoples Gazette, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) issued a statement on Monday, June 7, calling for an end of all activities that undermine Nigeria and to immediately “suspend the patronage of Twitter”. The ban also prevents the creation of new handles, and using Twitter for user generated content (UGC). Nigerian citizens haven’t shied away from speaking out against the ban, and are now using VPNs to access to Twitter. According to The Verge , Buhari reportedly threatened to persecute citizens who dared to defy the ban, most of whom have been tweeting under #KeepItOn.
Twitter has been an empowering platform for many citizens and social justice movements, alike. Towards the tail end of 2021the #EndSARS protests against the increasing force of Nigeria’s police brutality was catapulted by social action onTwitter and, in so doing, garnered much-needed attention and support from international activists such as Martin Luther King III.
In April 2021, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Ghana had been selected as the ideal destination for Africa’s first Twitter headquarters. The news came as a surprise considering that many had placed their bets on either Nigeria or South Africa. According to Peoples Gazette, Olu confirmed that Nigeria was still unhappy with Dorsey’s decision as seen in his response to the Twitter ban.
“So in the period of suspension, let’s sit down, if we have 40 million users of micro-blogging user and they chose to take their investment to country with five million users, it speaks to the reason why we also need to have that conversation with them so that perhaps if they have an office here things would have been done along quicker and better.”
On June 4, 2021 Buhari shared an insensitive tweet which threatened to deal with “those misbehaving” in Eastern Nigeria, a callous reference in Nigerian history where over three million Igbos where killed during the Biafran civil war. Oddly enough, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture subsequently announced the indefinite Twitter ban on Twitter!