Pamilerin, other influencers say Twitter ban lifting is political

On January 13, 2022, the Nigerian government lifted its ban on microblogging site Twitter after seven months of effect.

Nigeria lifts Twitter ban

Prior to the lifting of the Twitter suspension, quite a number of people, including social media influencers, had hoped the ban would not last considering the several risks it posed to businesses.

However, disclosing the discontinuation of the Twitter ban, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval after the microblogging platform agreed to his government’s terms.

Speaking on the development, President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo said it’s pertinent for Nigerians to know that the Buhari government listened to Nigerians’ voices by lifting the Twitter ban.

But reacting to Ogunbajo’s statement, social media influencers, including Adegoke Pamilerin, Ahmed Ayoade (Chief Agbabiaka), and Esther Adekeye (Cute Kimani), unanimously stated that the lifting of the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria is strictly political.

According to them, it’s not as if the federal government cared about people’s freedom of speech, and their businesses, that’s why the ban was lifted.

Pamilerin, in a chat with Pulseng, stated: “The Twitter ban lifting is because of the election and they need to use the platform. So, for me, it is for their personal reason, they know they need people. It's for their personal gain. It's not like they care about anyone.”

Lamenting the risks the ban poses at Nigerians, Pamilerin said he’s afraid that the next government might do worse compared to what the Buhari government has done. “In a democratic system like Nigeria, it was almost impossible to see the government suspend Twitter for reasons it couldn’t establish. The incumbent’s tenure would soon lapse, and I’m worried that his reign may affect how the next government would handle the citizens,” he added.

Echoing Pamilerin’s sentiment on the Twitter ban lifting, Cute Kimani said it’s obvious that the government of the day is smarter, adding that the development may not be unconnected to the highly-anticipated 2023 presidential election.

Her words: “It may seem as though, the government was just being considerate, but, I don’t think that is the situation. This present government is smarter and you can’t deny that. They are way ahead of the populace in terms of their plans. They know the power Twitter has, they saw it with #EndSARS (the ongoing movement against police brutality in Nigeria), they know how their minions failed to swing narratives in their favour amidst the ban.”

Also sharing his sentiment on the development, Chief Agbabiaka said Twitter is very influential when it comes to running election campaigns.

“2023 election is fast-approaching and you can see candidates already expressing their interests to succeed Buhari. Already, we are seeing divisions among political parties, and everyone seems to be advancing their steps in making their dreams become realities. Indirectly, they are telling us they need us to win and lifting of the ban is the first step to warm their ways into our hearts again,” Chief Agbabiaka added.

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