By Kings Ndubuisi Onwe
In recent times, the news has been bussing with the Federal Government’s suspension of micro-blogging platform, Twitter, from operating in Nigeria. This is coming after a tweet and a video from Nigeria’s No.1 citizen was deleted. According to Twitter, the reason for the deletion was because those contents violated their term of use or simply put, the community guidelines.
But the government’s quick reaction by banning the social network in the country looks funny and can be seen as aggressive. This is the same Twitter where many of our government parastatals, ministries, including the political stakeholders, are operating accounts. Not to fail to mention are the many organizations, especially millions of youths who are users of the platform. Although, everybody has freedom of expression on Twitter and can tweet anything, it must be within stated rules, and must not violate the community guidelines.
It is, therefore, ironical that the same government that used Twitter to campaign vigorously in the build-up to 2015 general elections, will today turn around to ban the same platform over a minor tweet, which the platform deemed inappropriate. Is PMB the first president to get his tweet deleted by Twitter? A simple no. Is he the only president? A positive no. Then why the vexation by banning the micro-blogging platform in our dear country?
Even the past President of United States, Donald Trump, has got a number of his tweets deleted, as well as getting his Twitter account suspended. Facebook also meted out the same measures on his account. But for an ordinary tweet deletion, hell was let loose by the ‘ruler’ occupying the highest seat in the land. It is no doubt laughable so to say. It is actually a transfer of aggression! That is the only way the government that could vex its anger towards Twitter, by banning it in the country. Imaging if Twitter is owned by Nigeria and also founded by a Nigerian. What would have happened is the immediate closure of the company. It would probably get razed to the ground, as well as have all its staff arrested. You can count the fate that would befall them. That is what the government of the day would have done. But since this is not within their reach, the anger was meted out on the platform by banning its use by Nigerians indefinitely. The government should instead focus on addressing the myriad of problems bedeviling the nation, seeking to tear it apart, thereby threatening its very existence and democracy.
However, the said ban is not having much effect on Nigerian users as many of them have already downloaded VPN. Trust Nigerians, they’ll always have a clever way out. So, did the government win or lose?
• Onwe writes from Enugu