The Civil Society Consortium on Civic Space received with consternation the news of decision of the regime of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
Over the years, Twitter has become one of the drivers of freedom of expression, speech and Assembly not just in Nigeria but all over the world. It is shameful that in its desperate bid and determination to destroy the largest democracy in Africa, the Federal Government of Nigeria is exploring undemocratic means to not just gag its citizens but to subdue them.
The Buhari-led regime has consistently demonstrated its lack of temperament and intellectual capacity to govern a modern democracy where dissenting voices matter. Leadership attracts criticism, criticism is the bedrock of modern democracy and if the president lacks the temperament to accept criticism from dissenting voices, then he has no right being a democratically elected president. He should either resign or let the citizens know that he has staged a coup against his own democratically elected government by announcing himself as a military junta, that way we can deal with the administration as such.
The Federal Government led by President Buhari cannot continue to pick and choose which part of the constitution he wants to obey when he indeed swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The suspension of Twitter is not just an illegality, it is an attack on free speech, it is an attack on the rights of every citizen of Nigeria that uses the platform for either business or any form of expression. According to Statista, 61.4% of about 28million social media users in Nigeria in 2020 use it for Business, Communication, Entertainment, Professional Development among others. This ban on twitter and the proposed regulation of OTT will not help businesses thrive in an already battered economy with no responsive leadership.
We therefore call on General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to immediately reverse the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. In the interim, the Consortium is considering its options in response to the decision and consulting with other interested civic partners and entities in Nigeria in order to determine our next steps.
Members of the Consortium;
Tap Nitaitive For Citizens Development
Network of Pro bono Lawyers
African Centre For Information and Literacy (AFRICML)
Global Rights Nigeria
Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria
Al-habibiyyah Islamic Society
Inibehe Effiong Chambers
Cross River Watch
Nigerian Bar Association, Unity Bar
Basic Rights Council
HRM Dr. Etim Okon, Chairman Cross River Traditional Rulers Council
HRH Eze Ositadinma Nwokocha, Imo Traditional Rulers Council
HRH Chief Michael Akpabio, Akpabio Traditional Rulers Council
DASS Emirate, Bauchi State
Advocacy Centre For Development
Network of Yobe Civil Society Organizations, Yobe
Association of NGOs, Gombe State
Gombe Emirate Council
Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy
Premium Times Centre For Investigative Journalism
International Centre For Investigative Journalism
Dorothy Njemanze Foundation
CDD West Africa
Education as Vaccine
Centre for Liberty
Adopt a goal
Bauchi State Network of CSOs
Destiny Youth Foundation
Before 40 Youth Foundation
Jennon Pius & Co Legal practio
Accountability Lab Nigeria