The U.S. on Thursday, June 10, once again appealed to the Federal Government to reverse its decision on suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The U.S. Department of State in a statement in reaction to the Twitter ban by the spokesman, Ned Price said Nigeria should respect the right to free speech.
The Federal Government had on Friday suspended the operations of Twitter indefinitely due to its use for activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension of the micro-blogging social network, days after Twitter deleted a post by President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly violating its policy.
The U. S., however, advised the Federal Government to end the ongoing suspension of Twitter; and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use it.
“The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.
“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,’’ the statement stated.
The U.S, therefore, called on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension.
Meanwhile, 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 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