The United States has condemned Nigeria’s ban on Twitter stating that the action had no place in a democracy and contravened freedom of expression.
The US Department of State’s Spokesman Ned Price in a statement also expressed concerns that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission has ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.
The ban on Twitter was put in place last week after a post by President Muhammadu Buhari was removed, but despite the suspension, Nigerians have continued to access Twitter using private networks.
The government has vowed to prosecute those violating the ban but says its decision to block the site is unrelated to the removal of the president’s tweet.
Mr Buhari’s post had threatened to punish regional secessionists.
The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter,” Price said in a statement received by ARISE News.
“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.”
By Abel Ejikeme