European Union, US condemn Twitter ban in Nigeria

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2021, 04:19 PM(IST)

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Nigerian telecoms operators complied with a government directive Friday to suspend access to Twitter indefinitely

European Union and the United States expressed concern over indefinite Twitter ban in Nigeria. The move to ban Twitter has also been denounced by international human rights groups

Nigerian telecoms operators complied with a government directive Friday to suspend access to Twitter indefinitely. The government directive was released after Twitter deleted a tweet by Nigerian President Buhari. 

The diplomatic missions of the EU, US, Britain, Canada and Ireland issued a joint statement late Saturday condemning the ban.

"Banning systems of expression is not the answer," it said.

"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," it added.

More than 39 million Nigerians have a Twitter account, according to NOI polls, a public opinion and research organisation based in Nigeria.

The platform has played an important role in public discourse in the country, with hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during anti-police brutality protests last year.

On Wednesday, Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari's tweet. In his tweet, Buhari had made a reference to Nigeria's civil war four decades ago in a warning about recent unrest.

The 78-year-old president, a former general, referred to "those misbehaving" in recent violence in the southeast, where officials blame a proscribed separatist group IPOB for attacks on police and election offices.

"Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand," the president had posted on Twitter.

The presidency denied late on Saturday that the Twitter suspension was a response to the removal of that post. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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