The Government of the United States of America has described as worrisome the sustained Twitter ban in Nigeria and the draconian directive by the Buhari dictatorship asking social media organisations operating in the country to register and obtain licences.
Claire Pierangelo, United States’ Consul General to Nigeria made these comments at an event themed: ‘A Conversation on Press Freedom, Freedom of Expression and Civic Space in Nigeria’. She said that the actions of the Buhari dictatorship has no place in a democratic society and that same amounted to breach on Nigerians to exercise their rights to freedom of expression.
“The suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian Government and its intention to introduce registration procedures for other social media organisations is deeply worrisome,” Pierangelo said.
She further stated that “banning or restricting social media, including threats of prosecution for its users is a breach on human rights and fundamental freedoms of Nigerians.”
The Consul General said that the actions of the Buhari-led dictatorship have had a negative effect on press freedom but that the government of the United States was encouraged by a meeting between Twitter and the Buhari regime to resolve the ban.
Recall that in a desperate attempt to gag Nigerians and restrict freedom of expression in the country, the Buhari dictatorship announced the ban on Twitter on June 4, 2021, and directed telecommunication companies to block access to the microblogging site on June 5 without obtaining a prior court order to do so, despite Nigeria being a democratic nation.
Following the illegal ban, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians sued the regime at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja. In reaction, the regional court has since issued an injunction restraining the Buhari dictatorship from harassing, arresting or detaining Nigerians for using the social media platform pending the final determination of the suit.
In another suit brought before the Federal High Court in Lagos by lawyer and human rights activist Inibehe Effiong to challenge the draconian ban on Twitter in Nigeria, the Buhari dictatorship claimed in its defence that it did not suspend Twitter, claiming that many Nigerians were still using the platform.
Nigerians have since defied the illegal and draconian ban, accessing the platform via Virtual Private Network [VPN].