Microblogging social media application, Twitter, is officially banned in Nigeria. This follows an announcement on Friday by the Federal Government that it was suspending the popular platform. Checks by Nairametrics reveals Twitter remained inaccessible as of midnight June 5th 2021, confirming that it has been banned.
This means Nigerians looking to visit Twitter online via their browser or through the app can no longer access it. Nairametrics understands access to Twitter via mobile phones was largely impossible but users still accessed it on WiFi-enabled devices. The Federal Government announced it was indefinitely suspending the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, via a statement issued by the Ministry’s spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi on Friday. The Minister cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“The Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria,” the statement read.
The government’s row with Twitter started after Twitter deleted a post by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
The President had condemned the attacks on police stations, prisons and offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, especially in the South-East, warning that those supporting insurrection and violence in the country would be shocked. Buhari had tweeted:
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Twitter flagged the tweet for violating its rules, deleting it.
However, the government pushed back complaining and accusing Twitter of double standards suggesting that it did not delete tweets from “insurrectionists” and those it claims were looking to divide the country.
Twitter is currently banned in countries like Iran, China, Turkey and was recently accused by the Indian Government of not complying with its rules.
Nigerians have reacted to the news of the ban accusing the government of impinging with its human rights and freedom of expression. The President of the Nigerian Bar association, Olumide Apata tweeted just before the ban became effective.
“The @NigBarAssoc has noted with great concern the extraordinary decision of the Federal Govt to suspend the operations of @Twitter in Nigeria and, by necessary implication, the right of Nigerians to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions through that medium.”
While the app remains banned, Nigerians have shared useful tips for connecting to Twitter using a Virtual Private Network, VPN. VPNs are tools used to bypass IP addresses required for countries or locations to allow websites to be accessible in a country.