The government of Nigeria decided to ban the microblogging site Twiter. The strict decision was taken after the social media site deleted a tweet by president Mohammadu Buhari. The tweet was one type of threatening by the president to secessionist groups in the southeast part of the country. Nigerian government claimed this group had responsible for attacks on government offices.
According to the NCT pool, more than 19 million Nigerians use Twitter and Mr Buhari has 4.1 million followers on Twitter.
Mr Mohammadu Buhari wrote “many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerians Civil War also wrote “who went through the war will treat him in the language they understand”
His tweet mentioned the connection between the Nigerian Civil War & attacks on govt offices by arsonist and gunmen.
Twitter said – “Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society, we will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world”
The reason behind Nigeria’s ban on Twitter
President Buhari later said the reason for the suspension was the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”
Another issue arises in this context, in April Twitter announced it was opening the first African offices in Ghana. As Ghana supports freedom in speech and online freedom. Some thought it was a humiliation for Nigeria.
After the blocking, Twitter also said in a statement that it is “deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria”
Twitter claimed that the reason behind the deletion of the president’s tweet is that it violates ‘abusive behavioural policy.” Some thought it was a threat to Igbo ethnic group living in southeast Nigeria. Nigeria’s southeast region was declared as an independent state of the Republic of Biafra and they attacked the Nigerian government many times Buhari remained commander on the side of the government.
A government official said the presence of Twitter in Nigeria is “very, very suspect”. Many think that Twitter is one of the platforms where they can criticize, analyze and praise government decision and activities.”
Mr Buhari has previously criticized Twitter and called it “Double Standard.” This time he officially tweeted “The Federal government has suspended, indefinitely, the operation of the microblogging and social network services, Twitter in Nigeria.
In some places, access to Twitter has been possible through Wifi but it is not the ultimate solution.
“Thank God for VPN” was trending in Nigeria and many Nigerian expressed concern about democracy and the dominance of dictatorship in Nigeria. A social media analysis website Trendsmap said, after the ban the use of VPN has been in a surge so the effectiveness of the ban is in question.
Amnesty international’s country director in Nigeria Osai Ojigho said ” suspending Twitter is just one more way of stating that people rights do not matter” he also added, ” This is a dangerous president”.
” Our party notes that Mr Lai Mohammed, in his statement, failed to cite an example of where Nigerian used @Twitter as a platform to promote acts that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s Corporate existence as he claimed” – the opposition people’s democratic party said in a statement.