Nigeria: Twitter Ban - Respect the Rights of Nigerians, U.S. Cautions Buhari

(file photo).

SUB: The US has sent another message to President Muhammadu Buhari over the ban of the microblogging site, Twitter....

The US has sent another message to President Muhammadu Buhari over the ban of the microblogging site, Twitter.

In a statement on Thursday, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said restricting social media has no place in a democracy.

He called on Nigeria to reverse the ban and allow freedom of expression.

The statement read, "The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter. The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.

"Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy. Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.

"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."

The Federal Government has maintained a hardline stance on Twitter ban despite pressure within and outside the country.

In an interview he granted to ARISE TV earlier on Thursday, the president was asked when he would unban Twitter but he simply said, "I'll keep that close to my chest."

Former US President Donald Trump has hailed Buhari over the ban, charging more countries to do the same.

Although Twitter played a crucial role in Trump's victory and was also instrumental throughout his presidency, the platform suspended him after he incited an insurrection in the last weeks of his stay in the White House.

Friday will make it exactly a week since the Nigerian authorities axed Twitter.

The government has now commenced the process of regulating social media, a move that has been widely rejected.

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