Prominent diplomatic missions to Nigeria, including Canada, the US, the UK and the EU said they were let down by the decision to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The Federal Government suspended the social network’s operations on Friday after Twitter deleted tweets from the official account of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The tweets, which Twitter said ran afoul of its policies, had referenced the country’s infamous civil war.
By early Saturday, users across the country started to experience difficulties in accessing the service and many resorted to using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
“The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media,” a joint statement from the missions said.
“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.
“Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace and prosperity. As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals.”
Bad for Business
Earlier the United States had chided the Nigerian government’s over its decision.
“Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression,” a statement from the US Mission in Nigeria said.
“The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses.
“Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms.
“As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater.
“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity.”