Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka has berated President Muhammadu Buhari following the suspension of the ‘Twitter’ operation in Nigeria.
On Friday, Nigeria Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed suspended Twitter indefinitely in Nigeria over the microblogging platform’s decision to delete a post it considered as a violation.
The Minister attributed the suspesnion to Twitter “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
Lai Mohammed said “The Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria”, added Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant To The President (Media).
Licensing all OTT means the Nigerian government is would demand all social media platform, whatsapp, Viber, and others to apply for license before operating in the country.
Twitter had deleted Mr Buhari’s two tweets and a video in which the President threatened to invoke a vivil war treatment to arsonists, separatists and inserrectionists destroying public assets.
Buhari tweeted: “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,’’ the president said.
Soyinka in his reaction to the Federal Government ban on Twitter said he is surprised “at this petulant gesture, unbecoming of a democratically elected president.”
He added“If Buhari has a problem with Twitter, he is advised to sort it out between them personally, the way Donald Trump did, not rope in the right to free expression of the Nigerian citizen as collateral damage.
“In any case, this is a technical problem Nigerians should be able to work their way around. The field of free expression remains wide open, free of any dictatorial spasms!”
Nigerians are all out against the President over the decision to ban Twitter. A local anti-corruption group, SERAP had threatened the Federal Government to rescind its decision or face legal action.
Sweden Embassy in Nigeria has also reacted to the development, urging the government to respect the constitutional rights to exercise freedom of expression.
“Nigerians have a constitutional right to exercise their freedom of expression and a right to access of information. This must be respected.
“Safeguarding free, independent media and civic spaces for democratic voices are an important part of Sweden’s #DriveForDemocracy #TwitterBan,” Sweden stated.
Omoyele Sowore, an ardent critic of the Buhari’s government urged Nigerians to boycott “any telecommunications company” that would block Twitter access.
He tweet “Jokers are banning @Twitter. This is the reason we told our compatriots that only a #Revolution can stop this regime. In the meantime if any telecommunications company blocks your @Twitter access, boycott them until they collapse. The solution is @Buharimustgo#RevolutionNow,”