– The suspension of Twitter by the Nigeria government continues to generate reactions within and outside the country
– One of the country’s top civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa says the action of the government is not democratic
– Yiaga Africa noted that the decision has sent negative signals to global investors about Nigeria
FCT, Abuja – A foremost civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa has expressed dismay over the indefinite suspension of Twitter services in Nigeria by the federal government.
The group also frowned at the directive by the ministry of information that all Over-The-Top (OTT) services must be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission before they can operate within Nigeria.
The organisation said it is concerned that at a time when nations around the world are building mutually constructive relationships with citizens through diverse channels of communication, the Nigerian government is imposing a ban on Twitter.
It described Twitter as a platform where citizens engage in public conversation, public policy scrutiny, and civic engagement.
A statement signed by the organisation’s director of programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, and sent to Legit.ng, read in part:
“The suspension of Twitter is antithetical to democratic principles and it portends a great threat to the freedom of speech and expression.
“Twitter, as well as other social media platforms, has emerged as a veritable tool for fostering direct and deliberative democracy by providing a space for citizens to express their opinions, ask difficult questions, and demand accountability from their leaders.
“This decision coupled with the ill-thought-out policy directive on licensing of OTT platforms sends a dangerous signal to the world that Nigeria is not open for investments, particularly in the technology and entertainment sector.
“These two sectors have experienced steady growth in recent years and created value through job creation for young people and sustained exports from Nigeria.”
Yiaga Africa further stated that the suspension of Twitter affirms the shrinking civic space in Nigeria.
It noted that democracy cannot thrive in an oppressed civic space where the government opposes any form of dissent or opposition and shuts down easy and accessible channels of communication at will.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the federal government suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, June 4.
The minister citied the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Meanwhile, the presidency has described the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria as temporary, giving hints that Nigerians may soon have unfettered access to the microblogging platform soon.
The hint was contained in a statement released on Saturday, June 5, by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.