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NUJ condemns ban on Twitter, say it’s undemocratic

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The president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ Chief Chris Isiguzo, Monday described the federal government ban on Twitter as undemocratic, obnoxious, even as he asked President Muhammadu Buhari to without delay reverse the decision. 

Isiguzo noted that such a decision from the federal government was friction to the democratic system of government been practiced in Nigeria.

He spoke at the official opening ceremony of the 3rd NUJ national conference, held on June 7, 2021, at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre, Port Harcourt, River State, South-South Nigeria with the theme: The Media, Insecurity and National Unity.

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While expressing concern over the security situation of the country, Chief Isiguzo, pointed out that the new factors that surpass boundaries and threaten national stability present a very difficult situation for policymakers in the country.

“At this point, let me pause and express our views about the recent decision by the federal government to place a ban on the activities of Twitter in Nigeria. We believe that the decision is completely at variance with democratic tenets. A key ingredient of democratic governance is the right of the people to free expression. At any time, the people are restrained from freely expressing themselves, then, democracy takes flight.

“The decision to ban Twitter is undemocratic, obnoxious, and unacceptable. We, therefore, ask the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to without delay reverse the decision. 

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“It is instructive to note that the very same policies that work to bring about open democratic pluralist societies and open markets also make trans-sovereign threats possible. These new factors that transcend boundaries and threaten national stability present a very difficult dilemma for policymakers. 

“The Union believes that in going forward, we have to operate against the background of the opportunities and problems associated with the information age, and we hope that this conference will provide the veritable platform to achieve this national agenda for Nigeria. The advent of the Internet poses another dimension to this problem as terrorists also exploit it for their maximum benefit. 

“The theme of this conference: The Media, Insecurity and National Unity is timely because of the pivotal role of the media as an effective tool for addressing Issues of National Unity and Insecurity. While we concede the fact that, the fight against terrorism and banditry is extremely difficult, we believe that the media can contribute immensely in this regard” he noted. 

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Information minister Lai Mohammed represented by Bosede Adebayo while speaking on media against insecurity: upholding ethical standards, emphasized that journalists should be focused on using their position to better Nigeria by reporting with all sense of responsibility.

Ladi Bala, President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, on her part stated that media is at the center in uniting Nigeria with their reports.

According to her, “what is the future of the younger generation if at this point we stand divided”? She asked.

The two-day conference featured the induction of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, into the NUJ integrity hall of fame and a keynote paper by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State Governor as well as other resources persons.

By Ruth Oginyi

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