Twitter ban: Global bodies may have given up on Nigeria’s democracy – Analysts

Global bodies may have given up on Nigeria’s democracy owing to several disappointing moves made by the Federal Government, analysts say.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu banned the use of a micro-blogging platform, Twitter, on Friday, after his violent tweets against South-East Biafra agitators were deleted. The country has also suffered human rights violations, including abuses by armed groups, unlawful attacks and impunity, according to Amnesty International.

Foreign affairs analyst Majeed Dahiru told The ICIR that the Nigerian government was weakening tenets of liberal democracy with its actions and inactions.


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“We’ve seen the attempt to stifle voices in democratic tenets. During the #Endsars protest, we saw the actions of the Nigerian government on the protesters and the attempt to stifle their voices,” he said.

Ike Ibeabuchi, a business and policy strategist, explained that that global forces might have given up on Nigeria.

“It is possible that our actions and inactions have prompted countries to give up on us. We currently lag in every human right and corruption index. It is time we grew up and act as the real giant of Africa,” he said.

The ban on the use of Twitter in Africa’s most populous nation has re-echoed concerns about the government’s push for a Social Media Bill earlier discussed at the National Assembly in the country.

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) said in a report  that the decision of the Nigeria’s government to suspend Twitter showed President Buhari had suspended Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and was trying to gag the media. Many international bodies have criticised it, urging the government to learn the ideals of democracy, which free speech was a central part of.

An ambassador Ogbole Odey explained that social media was a new space and the government must find a way to relate to it.  Odey, however, noted that Nigeria must begin to do whatever worked for it and its citizens.

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami had, on Saturday, said the government would prosecute Nigerians violating the ban on Twitter by the Federal Government.

But a lawyer Inibehe Effiong said the order was unconstitutional.
“Malami, the Chief Lawlessness Officer of the Federation is at it again. Madness upon madness. This is supposed to be a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Nigerians, ignore this infantile statement. It is brutum fulmen. Using VPN to bypass illegal suspension of Twitter is not a crime,” he said.
“I, Inibehe Effiong, hereby state that I have been tweeting and will continue to tweet in clear defiance of the Buhari regime’s unconstitutional suspension of Twitter,” he added.

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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