The United States has described the Twitter ban by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as “nothing more than state-sanctioned denial of free speech.”
the US Mission in Nigeria conveyed this message of top American official, Samantha Power on Wednesday as it piles pressure on the Buhari-led administration to lift the ban.
The senior diplomat is the current Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Power demanded for the immediate reversal of the ban.
She said, “There are nearly 40 M Twitter users in #Nigeria, and the country is home to Africa’s largest tech hub.
“This suspension is nothing more than state-sanctioned denial of free speech and should be reversed immediately. #KeepitOn.”
Power was the 28th US Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.
The Buhari government had last Friday suspended Twitter indefinitely after the president’s tweet was deleted.
Mr. Buhari had tweeted that many of those misbehaving in the South-East region were young and did not witness the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the 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 former General warned.
Twitter adjudged the post as offensive and deleted it.
Angered by the deletion, the Nigerian govt banned the microblogging giant from operating in the country.
Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, condemned “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
The government directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to start the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations.
The NBC was also ordered to force broadcast stations – Television and Radio – to stop using Twitter or face the consequences.
The ban has been widely condemned by Nigerians, countries, local and international organizations as an attempt to suppress free speech.
On Tuesday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) dragged the government to court over “the unlawful suspension of Twitter”.