Twitterban is state sanctioned denial of free speech ― US

The United States (US) has again spoken against the ban on Twitter in Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, calling it “state-sanctioned denial of free speech.”

On Tuesday, Samantha Power, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said, “There are nearly 40 M 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.”

Her remark was posted by the US Mission Nigeria on Facebook.

Last Friday, the Federal Government of Nigeria pulled the plug on Twitter operations in Nigeria.

On Saturday, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami directed the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF)  to swing into action and commence in earnest, the process of prosecution of violators of the Twitter ban.

On Monday, the Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, said at this critical time in Nigeria, free access to self expression is very important.

“We recognise that there are issues of the irresponsible use of social media, but we remain firm in our position that free access to the ability to express self is very important and perhaps more important in troubled times,” she said. 

On Monday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama held a meeting with ambassadors and representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and the European Union (EU) in Abuja, the US over the Twitter ban. Onyeama was said to have given no specific conditions for the ban to be lifted at the meeting.

So far, businesses in Nigeria have been reported to have lost over N4.4 billion to the Twitter ban.

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