Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reacted to the current Twitter ban put in place by the Federal Government of Nigeria last Friday.
In an interview with Arise TV, the governor struck a balanced view explaining that he does not have the same prognosis as the President and Commander in Chief, and so, he cannot say if what was done is wrong or right.
“Regarding the specifics around Twitter, I cannot sit down here with all of the responsibilities that I have and fly (sic) the commander in chief of the armed forces. Even had (sic) a prognosis and security information that I do not have. I cannot begin to say that was it done is right or wrong,” he asserted.
He also suggested that both sides (Twitter and the Government) should come together to resolve the issues rather than allow it to continue to degenerate to the detriment of Twitter-loving Nigerians and the economy. Sanwo-Olu also alluded that rather than being a ban, what the government had done was suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria.
“On both sides, there are issues that can be resolved between Twitter and the Government and I think what they’ve done is not a ban but a suspension like they said, so in the period of suspension let us sit down…we need to have that conversation with them,” Sanwo-Olu stated.
The governor also suggested that if Twitter had an office in Nigeria a lot may have been done to resolve the issues allowing everyone sees things from each side’s point of view. He also suggested that Twitter may have signed “some underlining agreement on the rules of engagement and I am not sure that is happening here,” suggesting perhaps Twitter should have rules by which it operates in the country.
He called for a resolution between the Nigerian government and Twitter, pleading that all parties should come together to resolve the issues rather than politicizing the issue.
Mr Sanwolu also insisted again, “what are the rules?” alluding to potential security consequences of the dominance of the microblogging platform in Nigeria.
The government announced a ban on Twitter on Friday following the micro-blogging platform’s decision to delete a tweet from the President’s Twitter handle that promised a hardline approach against insurrectionists who were too young to remember the carnage of the civil war.
Twitter responded to the ban saying:
“We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society. We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn”
Twitter also deleted a tweet from the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu which the government cited as divisionary.
The Federal Government attempted to clarify the reason for the ban explaining that it was due to incidences of misinformation and fake news being spread via the social media platform. The government has since reduced the ban to a suspension rather than an outright ban.
The social media platform remained inaccessible via mobile internet as of Monday, June 7th, 2021.