6th June, 2021
By Lizzy Okoji
Governments of the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Republic of Ireland, Norway and those of the European Union (EU) have called for dialogue in resolving the Nigeria-Twitter face-off.
The countries made the call in a joint statement made available to journalists on Saturday in Abuja.
“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.
“Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions,” they said.
The governments noted that this was particularly important in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They noted that the path to a more secured Nigeria lies in more communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue towards unity, peace and prosperity.
“As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals,” the statement read in part.
The Buhari 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, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all over-the-top (OTT) and social media operations in Nigeria.
The Minister also raised suspicion about the platform’s intention in Nigeria.
“Twitter may have its own rules; it’s not the universal rule.
“If Mr President anywhere in the world feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views.
“The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very, very suspect,” the Minister said.