The US President Joe Biden and other world democratic leaders need to know fully that Nigerians’ fundamental rights, especially the right to expression are under siege by their President, major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), a man with apparent conservative attitude to present-day Nigeria, a highly populated multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation.
At the time of this writing, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that is somewhat modelled after the American Constitution, continues to fully guarantee the right of expression. Now, these freedoms are under threat in today’s Nigeria.
Some hours after Twitter removed Buhari’s ‘abusive’ civil war tweet, he tweeted his anger in response. His regime decided to ‘indefinitely’ and/or temporarily suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
Facebook equally slapped Buhari by removing his violent reference which made him more irritated. Nigerians are wondering what next he will do should his assault on the right of expression be further questioned by the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, and others.
Buhari through his Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, which is being led by Isa Pantami, has ordered all the Nigerian telecommunications firms to block access to Twitter.
The leading networks in Nigeria include MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile have obeyed. Now, millions of citizens, foreigners, investors, and visitors have no Internet access to families, friends, business partners, and investors.
To make things worse for the people, his justice minister, Abubakar Malami, has “directed for the immediate prosecution of offenders” of the ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria. Even when there is no law today in Nigeria that would allow the prosecution of anyone using Twitter.