The US has approached the Nigerian government to regard the privileges of its residents to uninhibitedly communicate their thoughts by turning around its suspension of Twitter’s activities in the West African country.
In a proclamation gave on Thursday evening by the representative of the Department of State Ned Price, the US explained that freedom of expression and access to information are both essential ingredients in any democratic setting.
“We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity. As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension.”
In a move that has caused issues in the country, numerous Nigerians in the wake of the boycott concocted a few ways to sidestep the barricade including utilizing Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami had in a quick response requested the indictment of individuals utilizing the social media platform in the country.
However, the US government has blamed the move just as the National Broadcasting Corporation’s order to broadcast houses in Nigeria.
“The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter,” it said.
“The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.”
Nigeria has one of the biggest social media users in Africa. Friday’s ban by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has triggered a flurry of reactions from far and near.
Top diplomatic missions and rights bunches have condemned the move and critics believe it is an attempt to cage the opposition.
While the government has met with foreign envoys following the heavy outcry that greeted the suspension, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama says the tech giant is negotiating with the Nigerian government.
“There are discussions ongoing with Twitter, we will see how that progresses, so I cannot say for now the duration of the suspension,” Onyeama said after a meeting with diplomats over the issue.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed who is a leading figure in Nigeria’s battle with the US-based technology firm on Wednesday maintained that social media platforms will be regulated in the country.
He clarified that all social media platforms should be registered before starting their operation in Africa
“What we are saying is that for all platforms, you must register in Nigeria. You must be a corporate entity before you can do business in Nigeria,” the minister said after the weekly cabinet meeting in Abuja.
“Regardless of whether it is Netflix, Iroko, or Facebook… they are all doing business in Nigeria, making money and they are not paying taxes. This is as well as having the option to coordinate them. They are making billions of naira out of this country and they are not paying tax. That can’t be permitted to go on.”