The United States Government has described the ban on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria and the directive that all social media platforms operating in the country must register and obtain a licence as worrisome.
US Consul General to Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo disclosed this during an event tagged ‘A Conversation on Press Freedom, Freedom of Expression and Civic Space in Nigeria’ said the actions “have no place in a democracy and an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression.”
“Nigerian government’s ongoing suspension of Twitter and stated intent to introduce registration requirements for other social media platforms are deeply worrisome,” Pierangelo said.
She asserted that “banning or significantly restricting social media, including under threat of prosecution, undermines Nigerians’ human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Peoples Gazette reports.
She said the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration's orders have significant consequences on the freedom of the press but stated that the US was encouraged by the meetings between Twitter and the government to resolve the suspension.
The Buhari-led government had on June 4 announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. Telecommunication companies started blocking access to Twitter on June 5, after they received a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission to block access to Twitter.
Nigerian government had cited the persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence as the reason for the suspension.
Following the ban, groups including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), had dragged the government to the ECOWAS court.
The government however told a Federal High Court in Lagos that it had not stopped Nigerians from using Twitter, adding that many Nigerians still used it every day.
Since the ban, most Nigerians have been using Virtual Private Networks to continue to access the microblogging site.