The Buhari administration had banned Twitter in Nigeria, citing “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.NIGERIA
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The US Department of State has asked the federal government to reverse its decision to indefinitely suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
The US state department said that while it supports Nigeria’s quest for unity and peace, the country must also respect the right to free speech.
The Buhari administration had banned Twitter in Nigeria, citing “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Although no connection has been drawn yet, the move came two days after Twitter took down President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet which it said violated its rules.
The president had in the tweet condemned the attacks on government facilities, and, citing the civil war experience, threatened to treat those “bent on destroying” Nigeria in “the language they understand”.
In a statement on Thursday, the US government said it is also concerned that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.
“The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter,” Ned Price, the US state department spokesman, said in the statement.
“Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy. Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.
“We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity. As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension.”
Lai Mohammed, minister of information, had said Twitter could still be allowed to operate in Nigeria if the microblogging platform gets registered in the country among other conditions.
Mohammed had also said Twitter has reached out to the government, and “they are now ready to hold senior-level discussions with us.”
According to him, “our conditions are already laid out… one, to do business in Nigeria, they must register as a Nigerian company. Two, they must be licensed. And three, they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria, to the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
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