Nigeria criminalizes Twitter use, as attorney-general orders arrest and prosecution of offenders after citizen ban on Twitter use partially succeeds.
Attorney-General Abubakar Malami has directed his Ministry’s officers to contact telecom operators to plot how to arrest and prosecution offenders.
“Mr. Malami directed the DPPF to liaise with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communication Commission, NCC, and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay,” a spokesperson said.
Government yesterday, Friday 4 June 2021, announced an “indefinite ban” on “Twitter operations in Nigeria.”
Information Minister Lai Mohammed in a statement said Twitter was conducting “activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
The Minister also asked NBC, the broadcast regulator, to begin “the process of licensing (Nigerian) internet streaming services and social media operations.”
The statement was ironically shared on the ministry’s official Twitter handle the same day.
Enugu Metro learnt that Government swiftly ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict citizens’ access to Twitter.
The restriction became effective because most users depend for access on the major telcos (MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9Mobile).
The phone networks immediately implemented the directive, making it difficult for millions of users to access the microblogging site.
Tweeter is the fifth most used app by Nigerian youths who account for the over 90 million users of social media in Nigeria.
However, those who found a way to bypass the networks are still able to access the service, some of them by using the VPN service.
Other on independent Wi-Fis are also able to access Twitter but twitter-land is like a ghost town today, 5 June.
Among the major users are local news outlets some of which used Twitter to announce government’s plan to prosecute offenders.
A Presidency source confirmed that Nigeria arm-twisted ISPs to limit or restrict citizens’ access to Twitter.
“Any Internet Service Provider that fails to implement this government directive could lose its operational license,” she told Enugu Metro.
Genesis of a quarrel and Twitter ban
Government’s quarrel with Twitter arose from a tweet from President Buhari railing against secessionist agitators in the South East region.
The region, dominated by citizens of Igbo ethnic group, has been complaining of marginalization in infrastructure services and political appointments.
The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) became a rallying cry for idle youths to demand a separate Republic of Biafra.
The old Eastern Region, Nigeria after proclaiming Republic of Biafra, fought and lost a war to force a separation.
The Civil War (1967-1970) wasted an estimated 3million lives and is rated second biggest pogrom in the world.
President Buhari’s tweet alluded to this war and what the federal government was set to do to those burning federal assets and murdering security operatives.
He is a veteran of the war and fought on the federal side during the conflict.
Buhari said the young people did not know how Biafra was subdued and that government will “soon address them in the language they will understand.”
Amidst world-wide condemnation of this dark threat, Twitter deleted the message for violating its posting rules. It described the President’s Tweet as “deeply concerning.”
Twitter Reacts as Nigeria criminalizes twitter use
Twitter has rected as Nigeria criminalies use of the social blogging app.
Twitter said in a statement today that it will work to restore access to Nigerian citizens “who rely on Twiter to communicate and connect with the world. The 48-word statement reads as follows:
“We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria.
“Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.
“We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world.