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Twitter Ban is an Attack on Free Speech – MOSOP

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The atmosphere is still hot and vibrating as condemnations, criticisms and mockery have continued to flood in from Nigerians and international communities against President Muhammadu Buhari and his ‘cabals’ over Twitter Ban in the country after the social network deleted his (Buhari) tweet for violating their rule.

Reacting to the ban, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in a statement signed by its President, Fegalo Nsuke and made available to journalists on June 6, 2021, condemned the federal government’s ban on Twitter operation in Nigeria, saying the decision is inappropriate, unjustifiable and an assault on the rights of Nigerians to free speech and association.

According to MOSOP, Twitter ban is not only improper but derogatory and diminishes the status of the government having been taken in response to an internal decision of Twitter, an independent, private business network.

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The movement argued that Twitter’s response to a perceived violation of its terms of service and user management policies does not deserve such response from any government, especially from the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It maintained that the decision to delete Buhari’s tweet from their private network does not constitute a threat to the security of Nigeria or the president himself. 

“It is our view that Twitter’s decision was within its discretion, a part of its internal routine processes and similar actions are taken daily against user violations. It should therefore not be a reason to demonstrate the strength of government and deny Nigerians the legitimate right to free expression and association which the Twitter platform provides,” part of the statement read.

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The movement said that it sees the Tweeter ban as “Indication of an increasingly repressive orientation than a system that critically looks at the implication of decisions on public life and businesses.” “It baffles us that a government that has invested so much in canvassing for foreign inflows into Nigeria will take such a decision against a platform that provides one of the most powerful networks for business interaction and advertising without considering its effects on the economy,” the statement added.

It held that the “Twitter ban hurts and derogates our national prestige, will deter investments into Nigeria and tends to portray our system as repressive and unfriendly to businesses.” It therefore called on the federal government to rescind the decision. 

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“We further urge the government not to show its strength against private businesses and individuals especially at this time that it faces serious challenges from terrorists and internal instability which it has not been able to grapple with.”

By Sunday Elom N

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