From Aidoghie Paulinus and Okwe Obi, Abuja
The United States has demanded immediate reversal of the suspension by the Federal Government.
The call was the fourth intervention it was making in a week after last Friday’s suspension of Twitter’s operations.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, Samantha Power, said the suspension was nothing more than state-sanctioned denial of free speech.
In a Facebook post by the US Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, Power said the suspension should be reversed immediately.
“There are nearly 40m 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.”
US Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, had last Saturday, issued a statement where it said the suspension of Twitter’s operations was an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression.
On Monday, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, while responding to a question concerning the joint statement, during a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said the missions had not changed their stance.
“We remain firm in our position that free access to the ability to express one’s self is actually very important, and perhaps, even more important in troubled times,” Leonard said.
Meanwhile, Nigerians in Diaspora Movement (NDM) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the ban on Twitter and also tender an apology to citizens.
The group said the ban was I’ll-timed given that most Nigerians eke out a living through the microblogging site.
NDM Chairman, Prof. Apollos Nwauwa and Director, Media and Publicity, Kazeem Ojoye, in a statement, yesterday, reminder President Buhari that Twitter was one of the social media sites he used in 2015 to campaign amidst unpalatable comments against President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration.
They urged him to channel his energy into tackling the spate of killings and kidnappings that have characterised his administration.
“As a matter of national urgency, NDM hereby, unequivocally, calls upon the Nigerian government to reconsider the ban on Twitter without further delay. Apologise to Nigerians, especially the youths about such display of insensitivity and disrespect for freedom of speech and expression. Social media have been proven to lift people, especially the youth, out of poverty through the acquisition and exchange of value adding ideas. Learn to apply international best practices on engagement and embrace a more forward-looking, solution-focused, and more engaging leadership. Proactively and responsibly focus on delivering tangible and progressive values that would better the lots of Nigerians and address issues of popular dissent, and finally, address the high level of insecurity and extrajudicial killings in all part of the country.”