Nigeria Suspends Twitter
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Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, left, Xi Jinping President of China in handshake in April 2018, in Washington, DC.

 “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.”

This was tweeted on Tuesday, June 1st by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. However, the tweet was deleted on Wednesday after many complaints surfaced coming predominantly from Nigerian citizens.

Twitter said the tweet violated their policies on abusive behavior. On Friday evening, the ministry’s official Twitter handle accused Twitter of allowing its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

By Saturday morning, the Federal government implemented a policy that placed a ban on Twitter in Nigeria. 

Nigerians are not impressed and twitter put out a statement following this new policy saying, “…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.” 

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Analysis

Freedom of speech has always been a controversial topic as we struggle to draw the line between being free to say whatever you think and when that isn’t okay. The Nigerian Civil War is a scar on many of Nigeria and still is a sensitive topic to this day.

President Muhammadu Buhari triggered many in the country and essentially promoted division within his own state. The fact that Nigerians were the ones flagging his tweet is reason to remove it. His following actions only further confirmed the validity of having his tweet removed.

“Many Nigerians have condemned the ban, with the country’s main opposition party describing the move as “unwarranted” and “pushing Nigerians to the wall.” This ban comes with many consequences as many Nigerians use twitter for business, communication, outreach projects and activism.

With the crippling effect on businesses, workers have gone on strike making it difficult to release those incarcerated by this ban with courts having less capacity to do so. Even the Nigeria Bar Association can’t reverse the ban with these setbacks in the workforce. With former President Trump backing this ban we can rest assured this is not the kind of politics Nigerian’s want to take part of. 

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