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‘Banning not the answer’ — UK, Canada, EU tackle FG over Twitter suspension

Haleem Olatunji

More countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, have expressed disappointment over the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.

On Friday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

The minister said the decision was made following “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

Twitter’s suspension by the federal government came three days after a post by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 1967 civil war was deleted by the microblogging platform.


The United States government had reacted to the development, saying the government’s suspension of Twitter’s operations “undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses”.

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Norway, the European Union and the US expressed disappointment over the federal government’s announcement.

The foreign missions in Nigeria said the suspension of Twitter will hinder access to information and hamper businesses.


They also noted that the country will be more secure through information sharing, adding that banning systems of expression is not the way to go.

“The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media,” the statement reads.

“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline. Banning systems of expression is not the answer.

“These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace and prosperity.

“As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals.”

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