The Federal Government (FG) on Monday, June 7, met with some of the top envoys of various Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria at the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in order to resolve the ban on Twitter operations in the country.
The meeting was occasioned by the recent Twitter ban and the envoys’ reactions to the indefinite suspension of the microblogging platform.
Envoys present at the meeting included those of Canada; the United States; the European Union; the United Kingdom; as well as the Republic of Ireland.
The FG’s position was made known by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who said they had a fruitful deliberation and reviewed the situation.
According to the minister, the security concerns of President Muhammadu Buhari and the steps taken to address them were tabled.
Onyeama said the government acknowledges the roles social media plays; and it swings positively and negatively. He stressed that the negative aspect has dire consequences; and can likewise threaten the unity of the country.
“These concerns have brought about the strong steps taken by the president to maintain the nation’s unity,” he noted.
Regarding the ban, Onyeama said the duration of the Twitter suspension, cannot be determined, for now; also adding that’s the responsibility of the government in a democracy is to protect the law, order, and human lives.
He highlighted the need for the envoys to support the country on the Twitter ban; just as they lent their support to fixing the security crisis.
On his part, the US Ambassador, Mary-beth Leonards who spoke on behalf of other envoys, said they want to see Nigeria succeed; and while the challenges could be daunting, they aren’t insurmountable.
She reminded the government that free access to social media, is important; and they are also happy that the government, is in talks with Twitter.
The diplomatic missions had on Saturday said they were let down by the decision to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria.
“The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media,” a joint statement from the missions said.
“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression; and also access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world; and these rights apply online as well as offline.”