Sanwo-Olu says the Buhari government could have handled the Twitter issue better.
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says the decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to suspend the operations of social media giant, Twitter, in Nigeria is hurting the country’s economy.
The Federal Government last week announced the indefinite suspension of the American microblogging and social
networking service because it was being used for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Many critics, including foreign governments, have strongly opposed the suspension as a violation of the
rights of Nigerians, but the Buhari-led government has doubled down on its position.
Speaking during an interview on Arise News on Monday, June 7, 2021
Sanwo-Olu says he wasn’t in the best position to determine whether the government’s decision was right or wrong because he doesn’t have all the facts the president does.
But the 55-year-old says the suspension is hurting the Nigerian economy and disrupting the livelihood of young Nigerians who make a living on the internet.
Last week’s suspension announcement came just days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Buhari’s official account after they deemed it to have violated its rules.
Nigerians had widely reported the tweet as harmful after the president appeared to threaten separatist
agitator in the south east region with a repeat of the civil war that killed millions between 1967 and 1970.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the action made Twitter’s mission in Nigeria suspicious,
especially in light of its past actions considered an affront to the Nigerian government.
Sanwo-Olu said on Monday the Buhari government could have handled the issue better, especially because of the stakes involved.
“What I see is that on both sides, there are issues that can be resolved, both on the Twitter and also with our government.
“I believe that there could be a lot of restraint and better management from both sides,” he said.
The governor called on both sides to reach a quick resolution so as to put an end to the damage caused by the stalemate.
He suggested that Twitter could sign some underlining agreement on the rules of engagement of its operations in Nigeria.
He Added That
“The question we’ll ask is what are the rules? What happens here is different from what should happen in other parts of the world.”
Millions of Nigerians are now cut off from accessing Twitter within the country’s borders after network
operators were directed by the government to shut down access at 12 am on Saturday, June 5.
Other users have been skirting around the restriction by using Virtual Private Network to conceal their IP addresses, and disguise their Nigerian location.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has threatened Nigerians
using VPNs to access the social media platform with prosecution, but has failed to clearly outline the crime committed.
The decision to suspend Twitter has been considered by many as a backdoor policy to finally enforce a social
media regulation that Nigerians have been pushing hard against especially under President Buhari.
Following the announcement of the ban, Mohammed said the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has been
directed to immediately commence the process of licensing all over-the-top media service and social media operations in the country.
This will affect the Nigerian operations of giants like Netflix, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, and many more.
This development is expected to significantly impact the tech eco-system in Nigeria, considered one of the country’s
shining lights in the midst of years of escalating poverty, ballooning unemployment rate, and struggling economy.
By Victoria E.I