Again, US condemns Twitter ban, asks FG to respect citizens’ rights

The United States is concerned that the NBC ordered all television and radio stations to stop using Twitter.

President Muhammadu Buhari and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Punch)

The Government of the United State has again condemned the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government.

Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State said restricting social media has no place in a democracy.

In a statement signed by Ned Price, his spokesperson, Blinken said the United States is concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio stations to stop using Twitter.

The statement reads, “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.”

On Friday, June 4, 2021, the Federal Government suspended Twitter operations in the country, citing "the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

In its initial reaction to the Twitter ban in Nigeria, the US government had said that the ban undermined the ability of Nigerians to exercise their fundamental freedoms.

The US also said the ban sends a poor message to citizens, businesses, and investors in Nigeria, adding that the path to a more secure Nigeria lay in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts towards unity, peace, and prosperity.

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