The federal government of Nigeria appears to be heading to a point of no return as social media giants in the world, respected human rights group, Amnesty International (AI) and eminent Nigerians have decided to isolate and trash it ceaselessly.
Facebook on its own stroke removed a controversial post by President Muhammadu Buhari’s official page, because of its offensive nature.
indeed, when Buhari on Tuesday threatened to treat the insurrectionists and those burning the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) like Nigerian soldiers treated the rebels during the Nigerian civil war, little did he realise that the social media communication giants, Twitter and Facebook and AI including Nigerians would be at his neck twisting it silly.
“Many of those misbehaving today were too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during Nigerian civil war. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand”, he had boasted.
Twitter saw this as a genocide coming and therefore deleted it because it violated its terms and conditions. Facebook followed in the same order on Friday. In deleting the post, Facebook said, “In line with our global policies, we’ve removed a post from President Buhari’s Facebook page for violating our Community Standards against inciting violence”.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed had on Friday announced the suspension of Twitter from Nigeria, citing alleged use of platforms for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami also ordered immediate prosecution of those offenders of the federal government’s ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
Nonetheless, Amnesty International (IA) directed the Nigerian government to reverse the ban, even as it strongly condemned the action of the government for banning a social media outlet widely used by Nigerians to exercise their human rights, including their rights to freedom of expression and access to information.
Most Nigerians and the international community now see this as the beginning of the end of Muhammadu Buhari’s draconian regime in Nigeria. Would he in this instance ban Facebook? They derisively asked. The world is waiting.
Indeed, Amnesty International at the weekend declared thus, “We call on the Nigerian authorities to immediately reverse the unlawful suspension and other plans to gag the media, repress the civic space and undermine Nigerians’ human rights.
“This action is clearly inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international obligations including under the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights”, Amnesty International, warned.
Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka asserted, “it is a petulant gesture” that is “unbecoming of a democratically elected President, adding “the field expression remains wide open, free of any dictatorial spasms”.
Mockingly, renowned Human Rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome SAN, asked the federal government not to stop at banning Twitter, but move a step further by “dissolving the Nigeria people whom it has become so allergic to and no longer wants to see or hear about”.
His statement is titled, “When A Tottering Government Twiddles Twitter”.
However, Twitter on Saturday, described its ban in Nigeria as “brazen affront on citizens’ fundamental human rights” It advised its users and other social media users’ platforms in Nigeria to download virtual private network (VPNs) to enable them continue to use the platforms for their economic survival as well as social and political engagements.
“Nigeria’s President is the only President since the return of civilian rule who never grants live interviews or hold media chats”, Twitter observed.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.