Buhari and Biden: U.S. steps up pressure over Twitter ban

Buhari and Biden: U.S. steps up pressure over Twitter ban

By Abankula

The United States is increasingly getting impatient with the Buhari regime over the Twitter ban, as it steps up pressure on the government.

In the latest UN intervention on the matter, Samantha Power, current Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), calling for the reversal of the ban.

And she said the reversal must be done “immediately”.

“There are nearly 40 M Twitter users in #Nigeria, and the country is home to Africa’s largest tech hub. This suspension is nothing more than state-sanctioned denial of free speech and should be reversed immediately”, Power wrote on Twitter.

Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN (2008-2013) referenced the statement made 5 June by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, also calling for the lifting of the suspension on the micro-blogging social media platform.

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria condemned the ban as an encroachment on the Peoples right to Freedom.

“Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression. The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses.

“Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms.

“As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater. The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity.”

The Nigerian government on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter indefinitely after Buhari’s tweet was deleted.

The President had stated that many of those misbehaving in the South-East region were young and did not witness 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”, the retired Major General warned.

After the deletion, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, condemned “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

The suspension has been criticised by Nigerians, western nations and international organizations.

It is now been openly defied by the citizens.

On Tuesday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and and 176 concerned citizens filed a lawsuit against the Buhari administration over “the unlawful suspension of Twitter”.

The plaintiffs, in the suit filed by legal luminary, Femi Falana (SAN), want an end to the criminalization of Nigerians using the microblogging site, the repression of human rights, freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.