REAL REASONS BUHARI BANNED TWITTER

The Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the banning of Twitter in Nigeria. This is coming in the guise of the Government’s reaction to the deletion of the unfortunate tweet by the President regarding Nigeria’s civil war. We have clearly articulated everything wrong with the controversial tweet of the President.

Nevertheless, a careful consideration of past events will reveal that there are underlying reasons why Buhari moved to ban the use of Twitter in Nigeria.

1. #EndSARS protest

Nigerians on Twitter actively used Twitter and other social media platforms to lead the famous #EndSARS protest and the protest against police brutality in Nigeria. Twitter appeared to be supportive of the protest having confirmed that the protest was based on valid and justified claims. This support was in the form of the Twitter EndSARS emoji. The disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Federal Government lays credence to the fact that the #EndSARS protest was indeed justified. But that notwithstanding, the Government was embittered by the success of the protest and this was demonstrated by the subsequent attack on peaceful protesters. After much delays, the President eventually addressed the nation, but like Gratiano, Buhari’s speech in the face of crisis was full of bushels of chaff.

2. Fastest medium of opposing Government’s bad policies

Nigerians have Twitter as a powerful tool and the fastest means of expressing themselves including condemning every policy of the Government they consider bad and unacceptable. The choking pressure and heat emanating from Nigerians on Twitter have been a thorn in the flesh of the Government. Twitter and other social media platforms have become Nigerians’ eyes in the sky and voice in the wilderness of oppression.

3. Twitter citing it’s African base in Ghana

Recently, Twitter eatablished their African base in Ghana. This development which looks like a clear snub of Nigeria did not go down well with the Government. Nigeria’s information Minister, Lai Mohammed, in his reaction, went against Nigerians in a game of mockery and blame.

Federal Government did what it has always desired

The Federal Government appears to be hiding under the recent deletion of Buhari’s tweet to do what it has always desired to do – cut off Twitter! But this seemingly reckless move has further shown Buhari’s lack of tolerance of opposition. The Military General appears to lack even the benefit of a proper advice.

Since Twitter deleted Buhari’s tweet following the incessant complaints against it, all the President was supposed to do was to deflate his ego with the needle of reason by making a subsequent statement that will attempt to neutralize what he had said earlier, apologize to anyone hurt by the tweet and use that opportunity to drive home whatever he might have intended which didn’t appear to have been well-delivered initially. The only languages Buhari appears to understand are intolerance, inequity, harshness, rash decisions, name it.

The reason furnished by the Government for Twitter ban was that Twitter allegedly allows its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.” On the contrary, Buhari appears to be the main threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence. Nigeria has never appeared to be so terribly divided like presently.

Th Federal Government needs to see reasons and immediately rescind the decision to ban Twitter in Nigeria. Virtually all Federal Government agencies in Nigeria have found Twitter as one of the most potent medium of disseminating information. Twitter helps the Government to draw closer to the people it serves. Rather than opt for expanding its distance from the people, the Federal Government should be thinking of how to reduce the gap.



Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.

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