Civil society organizations have claimed that the Federal Government’s continued ban on Twitter in Nigeria is motivated by the President’s ego and the lies of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Enough is Enough Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative, Media Rights Agenda, and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability declared this at a press conference in Lagos on Monday to mark the 100th day since Twitter’s suspension.
“Although the government said it banned Twitter because it was being used by warmongers to destabilize the country, critics slammed the restriction, saying it is one of the government’s tactics to destabilize the country,” PIN Executive Director Gbenga Sesan said.
The Buhari administration is attempting to stifle debate in the public sphere.
“The ban was based on the President’s ego and Lai Mohammed’s lies. After failing to apprehend criminals and terrorists who utilize social media, the current administration opted to suffocate the entire populace and make Nigerians suffer as a result.
“NetBlocks estimates that Nigeria has lost nearly $250,000 every hour since the Twitter ban, based on a Brookings Institution method.”
Nigeria has lost at least $360 million in the 100 days since Twitter was banned, according to the groups.
They complained that the ban has harmed Nigerians, particularly those who rely on the internet for a living, and that it has limited access to information for Nigerians.
“It is a disservice to the government because government bodies like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control were able to issue COVID-19 updates and keep citizens informed before the ban, but it is no longer able to do so effectively due to the prohibition,” said EiE Executive Director Yemi Adamolekun.
“We have challenges such as unemployment, instability, poverty, and a lack of a sense of belonging, and the government has ignored these concerns by banning Twitter.
“If the Nigerian government wanted to prohibit Twitter, they could have done so lawfully, but there is no supporting documentation, such as a legal document or a court order. This is a flagrant violation of human rights, and the government must be held accountable.”
According to Ayode Longe, director of programs at MRA, as soon as the Twitter ban went into effect, civil society organizations united to criticize the measure and urge on the federal government to reverse the decision.
SERAP prompted 176 concerned Nigerians to submit the first lawsuit against the government at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in response to the ban, he said.
“Following the suit, the ECOWAS Court issued an order on June 22, 2021, prohibiting the Buhari administration from prosecuting or harassing any Nigerian for using Twitter or any other social media platform, in light of the threat made by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), that anyone using Twitter despite the suspension would be prosecuted,” Longe said.
EiE Nigeria recently filed a N5 billion action in the Federal High Court of Lagos against four Nigerian mobile telecoms companies for restricting Twitter access.
“Despite legal measures, the Nigerian government has stuck to its guns in maintaining the ban,” Longe continued. After meeting with Twitter and making some demands, Lai Mohammed stated that the government would ‘soon overturn the ban.’
“Among the government’s demands, according to Mohammed, were the establishment of a Nigerian office in accordance with Nigeria’s Companies and Allied Matters Act, as well as registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission.”
Mohammed has stated that the restriction would be lifted soon by the FG.
Remember that the Federal Government suspended Twitter on June 4 after the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, deleted a tweet (retd.).
#CSOs #criticize #FG’s decision to keep the #Twitterban