In a press release announced today, the Federal Government of Nigeria has suspended the operations of Twitter in the country indefinitely.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed issued a statement today June 4, 2021, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.” The move follows the deletion of a controversial tweet made by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on June 1, 2021 which Twitter says violated its rules.
Facebook could also be the next social media platform to be suspended in Nigeria after the platform removed the same message which was shared on the platform by President Buhari.
In a further statement shared by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) “to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.” Twitter’s suspension means internet service providers in Nigeria will have to blacklist the platform from being accessed via their networks.
Earlier in April, Twitter expanded into Africa by setting up its first office in Ghana. Explaining the choice of Ghana, Twitter issued a statement saying “as a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate.”
Twitter has been an important platform in Nigeria for its youths to champion certain causes and have their voices heard. The EndSars campaign began in Nigeria before gaining worldwide recognition and there have been other notable movements started with a Twitter hashtag such as #BringBackOurGirls and #OccupyNigeria.