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Buhari, rescind this decision on Twitter ban

Buhari, rescind this decision on Twitter ban
June 09
15:21 2021

Nigerians on Friday were treated with the rude shock of banning Twitter, a micro-blogging and social networking service company, in the country. I join other well-meaning citizens to ask the Federal Government of Nigeria to rescind its decision on the indefinite suspension of Twitter.

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According to the Federal Minister of Information, Twitter has persistently used its platform for activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of the polity.

On the contrary, the company’s policy spells out in bold relief that it does not promote the use of inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech which Nigerians and the global community massively condemned when their President was reminding the people of the Southeast of a horrendous civil war, the memory of which will help him deal with arsonists in the zone, and with shock,  “in the language they will understand”.

The government should rescind this badly conjured advice and not embarrass a well-informed Twitter and other social media population of over 33 million Nigerians. Is it not an irony that the Federal Minister of Information used its Twitter handle to make its announcement while asking the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to commence the process of licensing other Over The Top media service (OTT) organisations such as Facebook.

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We need to protect the human rights of all Nigerians, north or south, east or west. The freedom of speech guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution also must be used responsibly whether off or online.

This is what democracy is all about.

This decision, to say the least, is just one example of how policy makers acting on behalf of the President are undermining the country by sending the wrong signals to those keen on doing business with us through direct foreign investment (DFID) inflows into the country.

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We are therefore sending the wrong signals to investors who are looking for the right policy planks to help redirect an already wobbly economy pre-COVID19. Banning Twitter in the country is obviously not one of those planks.

Twitter berthed its regional headquarters last April in Ghana and gave reasons that included the right enabling environment, calling Ghana “champion of democracy, a supporter of free speech, online freedom and the Open Internet,” surpassing whatever Nigeria has to offer in terms of the ease of doing business. Apparently, the current action of the government justifies Twitter’s good business sense in anchoring its corporate ship in Ghana, whose democratic tenets constitute a model we should be borrowing from.

Once more, I stand with all Nigerians in asking President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel this ban while we focus on the more pressing issue of securing our country and uniting Nigerians irrespective of tribe and tongue, as our old national anthem proclaimed.

Kingsley Moghalu is a Presidential Aspirant 2023, Political Economist, Lawyer and Author

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