The ban on Twitter services in Nigeria may continue for a while if the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari is anything to go by.
Buhari, during an interview with AriseTV on Thursday, June 9, ignored a question posed to him on Nigeria’s ban of microblogging platform Twitter.
“I will keep that to myself,” Buhari said about his stance on the Twitter ban.
1st News had reported that the Federal Government recently banned Twitter in Nigeria, a move that followed the tech company’s deletion of a controversial tweet by Buhari.
In the deleted tweet, the president warned of armed responses to the insecurity in the South-east and alluded to the country’s Civil War, a comment many reported as abusive and insensitive.
The Twitter ban has been widely condemned with concerns that it hurts the fundamental right to expression and raises fears Nigeria is slipping into dictatorship.
During the interview, Buhari was asked when the Twitter ban would be lifted. But he declined to comment, saying he would “keep” the answer to himself
Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sen. Ajibola Basiru has stated that he has no mandate of the Senate to talk about the ban on Twitter by the Federal Government.
Basiru stated this on Wednesday, June 9, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the second anniversary of the ninth senate.
1st News had also reported that the Federal Government banned the use of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5.
Basiru said the senate had not considered the issue of the Twitter ban.
He said, “If I express any opinion, it will be my personal opinion; and there is likewise the tendency that my opinion may be judged to be that of the senate.
“So, I don’t have the mandate of the Nigerian senate to talk on the issue of Twitter.
“I will exercise restraint; and also be on the cautionary note; so that I will not be quoted as speaking for the senate on the Twitter ban.
“However, journalists have access to the Attorney-General of the Federation to challenge him; and come up with a legal basis for whatever action he has taken.
“When it comes to interpreting laws in Nigeria, the buck stops at his table. To challenge his opinion, the way to go about it is to go to court. I am not in a position to take him on his action.
“The basis for the rule of law is that there must be a legal basis for executive and legislative actions.
“It is when the senate considers the issue at plenary; that we will be able to have the full opinion that we can express to Nigerians. Senate will address the issue at the appropriate time,” he said.