Nigeria Twitter ban: Govt urged to rethink social media suspension

The Neo Black Movement (NBM) of Africa Worldwide, a socio-cultural association, has called on the Nigerian government to tread carefully over its suspending social media platform Twitter from operating the country.

According to a press statement made available to reporters in Lokoja, signed by the group’s spokesman, Oluwatosin Dixon, the ban could lead to job losses, which could affect the economic activities of the nation which is already in a fragile condition.

We hereby appeal for the reversal of this policy direction, following what we have come to observe as a rapidly degenerating situation in the last couple of days; snowballing into the said banning of Twitter by the Nigerian Government and the accompanying threat of prosecution of violators by the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami. By the government’s fiat on the Twitter ban, we are not unaware of the dire economic consequences on the lives of an estimated 44 million Nigerians and a daily loss of about N2 billion in transactions. In a country faced with unprecedented unemployment and inadequate government economic safety measures, this is a recipe for general unrest, strife and exacerbation of insecurity levels. This, aside from the grave implication of government’s infringement on constitutionally guaranteed rights of the Nigerian people enshrined in Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria which guarantees freedom of expression as a fundamental right. This right is also guaranteed under the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, of which Nigeria is signatory to. We note with trepidation the disturbing path and line of action so far undertaken in this regard by the government, which we consider capable of denting the country’s image in the international community, and therefore warn that the government avoid, by all means, turning Nigeria once more into a pariah state. The US, Canada, the European Union, UK and the Republic of Ireland had in a joint statement on Saturday condemned the government’s banning of Twitter, while more countries are expected to follow in their condemnation, this coming a day after the government threatened to arrest and prosecute any resident found using the app. The NBM of Africa, true to our mandate as a Pan Africanist organisation, among whose mission statement is the socio-economic development and liberation of Black people, hereby call for a reversal of the government’s ban on Twitter. We note that this will not only further impoverish an already groaning people, but deplete the inadequate economic infrastructure open to the millions of the unemployed youths of Africa’s most populous country.’

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