Revisiting Nigeria’s Twitter ban

On June 1, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted against the breakdown of law and order in the eastern part of the country. The tweet generated a lot furour as many feared it was genocidal.

In his tweet, President Buhari said, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the civil war. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand”.

Many twitter users, especially people from the eastern part of the country, found the tweet genocidal and that made them report the tweet to Twitter authority as an offensive tweet.

On June2, 2021, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alahaji Lai Mohammed, said in a media chat, “The mission of Twitter is very suspect. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweet that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending? Has it? The same Twitter during #EndSARS protest that was funding #EndSARS protesters, it was first to close the account of the former President of US, Trump.”

On June 4, 2021, the federal government through Federal Ministry of Information and Culture used its verified Twitter handle @FMICNigeria to announce the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. It tweeted that the minister “Alhaji Laid Mohammed announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday citing the persistent use of the platform to undermine Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

Twitter through its public policy handle @policy tweeted that “we are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. 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 #Keepiton.”

Many concerned Nigerians were worried about the pace at which the federal government of Nigeria reacted in banning Twitter on the Nigeria space which took effect in less than 72 hours. Many of our yearnings as concerned Nigerians have gone unattended to for months and years but the minister could address the press because of a deleted tweet.

The story of Twitter in Nigeria is that over 200 million Nigerians can’t access Twitter because a man is angry over his deleted tweet. The #TwitterBan further shows that the president and his executive council can solve problems at the shortest possible time but have failed to do so over time.

From developing situations, it has been found that many Twitter users have devised a means of accessing the suspended app in Nigeria. This was said to be achieved by using Virtual Private Network known as VPN to change their location from Nigeria. This means they will be using the app perfectly because the location of the smart phones is no longer in Nigeria technologically.

Owolola Qudus,

Jabi, Abuja

[email protected]