Written by David Ugbabe
The US Department of States has described the ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government of Nigeria as an undue restriction of the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information and as such has no place in democracy.
The Spokesperson of the US Department of States, Ned Price made the statement on Thursday, condemned the action of the Federal Government. He said, “The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter.”
He also said, “Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy. Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.”
He therefore declared the United States’ support toward Nigeria’s unity, peace, and prosperity. “As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension,” he added.
Recall that the Nigeria had placed a ban on the social media after it deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari which was described as a controversial and violent tweet. Meanwhile, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed shortly after the weekly Federal Executive meeting at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday stated that the ban will only be lifted on the condition that the social media giant registers in Nigeria as a business and pay taxes in the country before they would be given any chance.
He said, “Whether it is Netflix, Iroko or Facebook, they are all doing business in Nigeria, making money and they are not paying taxes. This is in addition to being able to regulate them. They are making billions of naira out of this country and they are not paying tax. That cannot be allowed to go on,” Mohammed said. He therefore reiterated that said social media outfits should also “refrain from using their platforms for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria.”