When your country decides to plan your life, you just have to accept it with patience because the rulers have nothing to lose but you have a lot at stake. The ban that the Nigerian government imposed on Twitter was indeed a show of superiority and power, but letting a government have absolute control over the internet freedom of a democratic country is a sign that the levels of government that are supposed to be a driving force for the separation of power have lost their credibility to control and balance themselves.
the National Assembly abandoned the national interest for party loyalty and did little to address the violation of Articles 35 and 39 of the Nigerian Constitution on the rights of Nigerians to freedom of speech and freedom of speech. ‘expression.
On June 4, 2021, the Nigerian government banned Twitter outright for deleting its post as a threat to an entire ethnic group. This follows the removal of the president’s post for violation from Twitter, Abusive Behavior Policy. A fight that was supposed to be between Jack Dorsey and Muhammadu Buhari has been turned into a national issue.
The blocking of Twitter has not only affected the Nigerian President, it has affected an entire population of over 200 million individuals and around 3 million active Twitter users, a figure believed to be the second– the highest in Africa.
Every day many Nigerians are insulted on Twitter and other social networks but they cannot ask for an outright ban from Twitter or other social networks and all they get is an option to block users who insulted them. stop using social media handle. An action that is detrimental only to users and all other users still enjoy the benefits derived from the use of social media. If properly reported, the abuser could face serious consequences, including removal of harmful content or even deactivation of an abuser’s online account. The President could have opted for this option.
But why did the Nigerian president have to outright ban Twitter after he felt insulted? Simple, because he is the 4th democratically elected president and the 16th president having led Nigeria since its return to democracy in 1999 and after its independence in 1960 respectively.
This action by the Nigerian government is not only scary but also worrying that the government can stop using Twitter on its own, without necessarily having to ban it, and switch to other alternatives like Facebook which it also uses is not only scary but very dangerous.
This is worrying because if the government can cause an outright ban on Twitter for insulting him, they can also ban all social media handles for insulting him. After all, he was granted absolute power to do so and being banned from Twitter for 7 months is proof of such power.
Surprisingly, Nigeria is not the only country that has banned Twitter and they have no assurance that he will be the last president to do so in the world. Fear leaves the government with absolute power over the internet freedom of over 200 million people.
Following a series of coordinated attacks that claimed the lives of more than 250 people on April 21, the government of Sri Lanka closed the access of its residents to Social Media and online messaging systems including Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat and Viber. The government’s official concern was that “false information was spreading on social media”.
Research into early blackouts has shown that Egypt’s disappearance from the the global internet in 2011 backfired dramatically, driving protesters out of Tahrir Square and into many decentralized pockets of resistance. Coordination of protests quickly shifted from Facebook event pages to individual efforts in each neighborhood. This proved impossible for the security forces to control. Ten days later, the Mubarak regime falls. During the Syrian civil war, the government used stops as a weapon of war.
When it comes to internet freedom, Africa has an abysmal record. Internet outages had been recorded in five countries (Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sudan and Zimbabwe) in the first three weeks of 2019. The outages were related to elections, protests against government policies and this which appeared to be a coup attempt. .
Meanwhile, on December 20, 2018, the Sudanese government shut down social media access on mobile networks across the country following marches calling for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled the nation. for almost three decades.
Internet access in Zimbabwe was disrupted on January 15, 2019, following public protests against a 150% increase in fuel prices. The protests reportedly resulted in the deaths of 12 people and the arrest of up to 200 citizens. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, disruptions to social media access were reported on December 31, 2018, as the country headed to the polls in a turbulent election to replace incumbent President Joseph Kabila.
Gabon experienced a government-ordered total internet shutdown after a handful of soldiers stormed the national radio station and, in a live broadcast, urged citizens to overthrow a sickly president who was out of the country recovering from an October 2018 stroke.
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The moment we remain silent about the things that rise to our freedom, Nigeria, is likely to deprive us of our internet freedom at any time since we have left it at the mercy of the government.
If nothing is done now, there is no assurance that the future president will not ban other social media handles to affect an entire population, as other governments have done.
You don’t just ban social media for spreading fake news, because only through social media can you ever inform the uninformed as quickly and quickly as misinformation has spread . The media is very powerful and there is no doubt about it. If we are disconnected from a connected world, anything can happen, as is evident in North Korea where the media is still blocked and the government decides which social media can be used or not based on its interest.
Legislatures need to wake up to their responsibility, the president’s powers are too absolute and his threat to the country’s free speech is deadly. For a brighter future and a prosperous Nigerian, our freedom of speech should never be left at the mercy of a single administration.
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