The diplomatic missions of the European Union, United States, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have issued a joint statement to condemn the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the operations of social media giant, Twitter, in Africa’s most populous nation.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government suspended Twitter on Friday, June 5, 2021, after the tech company deleted one of the president’s tweets for a violation of its rules.
The tweet had been reported by multiple Twitter users for its reference to the traumatic 1967-1970 civil war that claimed more than 3 million lives in the Igbo-speaking southeastern region of Nigeria.
Buhari’s decision to turn off access to Twitter in Nigeria has been described as an attempt to suppress free speech from a former military General who once described himself as a “converted democrat.”
“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline,” the joint statement from the diplomatic missions reads.
“Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement adds.
The Nigerian presidency has doubled down on its widely condemned, dictatorial policy, while adjusting its stance from an “indefinite suspension” of Twitter to a “temporary” one.
Presidency sources have just told Pulse that the suspension will soon be lifted in the face of international and local pressure.