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Buhari Dares Dorsey over Twitter Ban As FG. Slams Indefinite Suspension On The Company

By Stephen Ubanna

President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General appears to have drawn the battle line with Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, who had ,  created Twitter Platform . Buhari’s anger was the ban placed on his account for violating the North American country of the United States, US,  media giant operational policy.

The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have played into Dorsey and Williams’ hand, for tweeting that his government will threat those plotting to destroy the Nigerian corporate entity in the Language they may not understand. He may have alluded to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPO, which has Nnamdi Kanu, who is on self- exile in the United Kinddom, UK, as its Leader. He was said to have vowed to do everything possible to ensure that the south east secessionist Group, fail in their plot.

 But the IPOB Group, may not be alone in the Nigerian’s President bad book as  the sponsors and orchestrators  of the attacks in the other parts of the country like the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State Of The West Province, ISWAP, based in the north east including the Bandits operating in the north west states  of Zamfara, Kaduna , Katsina and the north central state of Niger, are also there.

An aggrieved who  may have  expressed his mind in the Tweet had said that those sponsoring the attacks in the different parts of the country  are doing so  to see that his Administration fail.

Dorsey: Created Twitter Platform With Williams

 The excerpts of the Tweet that was said to have   earned him Twitter ban and the subsequent indefinite suspension of the Company’s activities  in the Nigeria by the government reads in part:  I receive  daily  security reports  on the  attacks on critical national infrastructure  , and it is very clear  that those  behind them  want this Administration to fail. Whoever want the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. We’ve given enough time.

He had said that many of those misbehaving today in the south east geopolitical region  are too young  to be aware  of the destruction  and loss of lives  that occurred  during the civil war. He may have been seen as beating the drum of war which was said to have violated the Twitter Pltatform operational policy when he declared  that  those of  them ‘’ in the field for 30 months, who went through the war’’ , referring to the 1967-70, Civil war, in the southeastern geopolitical region  that killed one million people, thus, leading to a 12 hour suspension of his Account. 

In apparent reaction to the 12-hour ban placed on the Nigerian President’s Account, Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture had said that’’ Twitter operations in Nigeria is suspicious’’.  The minister believes that Twitter had been forced to place the 12-hour ban on the Nigerian President’s Account because’’ some media users  had criticized the retired Army General’s Tweet, which was believed to be  targeted  at the people of the south east, states, home of IPoB and ESN, members  who are in forefront to revive Biafra.

Mohammed: Minister of Information And Culture

This may have informed the recent crackdown on the IPOB and ESN, members , by the security agencies personnel, particular, the military and Policemen  and the uproar in the region. The war of words on the Nigerian insecurity situation between the warring parties appear to have shifted to the social media network , particular, Twitter.  

In announcing the indefinite suspension  Twitter activities  of  microblogging  and  social networking services in Nigeria, Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture had cited  the ‘’persistent use  of the US media giant,  Platform  for activities  that are capable  of undermining  Nigeria’s corporate existence’’.   The minister, however, did not provide any  explanation to how the Company had undermined the corporate   existence of Nigeria or  how the ban on twitter Platform activities in Nigeria  would  work in practice, at a briefing in Lagos. Rather, he was said to have directed  the, Nigerian Communication commission, NCC,  ‘’to start  the process of licensing   all OTT, internet streaming operation services and social media operations in Nigeria.

He may have alluded to have  Kanu, the IPOB,  leader, who was believed to have  been making inciting  Tweets on the Twitter Platform but not sanctioned. An aggrieved Nigerian minister of Information and Culture had said that  the US, median giant chose to ignore  the inciting  messages  from the Court proscribed  IPOB but was quick to  enforce  its rules on Buhari. This may have informed why he had accused Twitter   of bias against the Nigerian President. Ironically, the minister had used the same Twitter social network it had banned to make its decision to suspend  the company indefinitely from the country public.

Determined to enforce the suspension order placed on Twitter in Nigeria at the instance of the Nigerian President, Isah Pantami, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  was said to given a matching order to the  NCC, to do the needful by blocking all  access to Twitter through the  country’s main phone network providers: MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9 Mobile .

 The directives appear to have been carried out , according to reports filtering out from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre. As at Saturday, June 5, 2021,  Nigerians who were said to have made efforts  to connect to  the Twitter  Platform through  MTN and Airtell,  were said to have been disappointed. Other network providers were said to have also been affected, This may have informed why the technical personnel of Twitter, have gone back to the drawing board to ensure that its Platform remain accessible for now  on VPN networks in Nigeria.

Recall that the Company had in April, 2021, announced that its new African office   will be based in the West African country of Ghana. Given Twitter moves to get to the root of the cause of the conflict of interest between Buhari and the Company,  the Management had said that’’ it is investigating  and will provide updates when we know more about the Nigeria ban’’.

 Indeed, between Friday, June 4, 2021, and now  that the Nigerian government slammed the indefinite  suspension on Twitter activities in the country, it has continued to be tongue lashed by  critics, who believe that the Buhari Administration is dragging Nigerians  far away from the digital age and infringing on their freedom of expression   as enshrined in the African Human Rights Charter.

Soyinka: Believes that Nigerians Have A wAY a Way To Get Around The Technical Problem

Wole Soyinka, a Professor and Nobel  Laureate had said that there was no basis for the government to slam an indefinite suspension order on Twitter.  Advising Buhari , whom  he believes has a  problem with Twitter  to find a way to sort it out with the Company , and’’ not  rope in the freedom of expression  of the Nigerian citizen  as collateral damage’’.

Soyinka , who could not hide his feelings  had said ,’’this is a technical problem  and Nigerians  would  be able  to work  their way around’’.  The Ogun state born Nobel Laureate  may  have gladdened people’s heart with his remarks when he added that  ‘’the field of expression  remains wide open, free  of any dictatorial spasms’’.

Amnesty international, an internal Human Rights Organisation,  had asked  the Nigerian government  ‘’to reverse  its decision on the indefinite suspension placed on Twitter activities in Nigeria and further  plans to gag the media Nigeria. The Organisation  had described  the Nigerian government action  ‘’as being  clearly inconsistent  and incompatible  with the nation’s international obligations  including  the African  Charter  on Human  and People’s Rights and the International  Covenant  on Civil and Political rights.

Olumide: NBA, President, Threatens To Drag FG. To Court Over ThSuspension Of Twitter Activities

Olumide Akpata, President, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, had said that  there is no Constitutional   provision or legal Authority that supports  the suspension of Twitter activities  from Nigeria by the Buhari led APC , government, at the Federal level.

 The NBA, president who described the clamp down on Twitter Platform, for removing Buhari’s Tweet , which was a violation of its rules, as illegal and  has vowed to challenge the decision in Court , if the government fail to reverse the order.

Stephen Ubanna

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