The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) wishes to express its concerns over the restriction on twitter by the Nigerian government. MOSOP considers this decision to be inappropriate, unjustifiable and an assault on the rights of Nigerians to free speech and association.
MOSOP is of the opinion that Nigeria’s Twitter ban is not only improper, it is derogatory and diminishes the status of the government, being in response to an internal decision of Twitter, an independent, private business network.
It is our opinion that the action of Twitter in response to a perceived violation of its terms of service and user management policies which does not deserve such response from a government, more so, the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at least not to the extent of demonstrating the strength of government against a private enterprise.
MOSOP further holds that though the government was not specific on Tweeter’s offence, the decision of Tweeter to delete a Nigerian presidential tweet from their private network, does not constitute a threat to the security of the country or the president himself and would not be the first of such decisions taken by Tweeter. It is our view that Twitter’s decision was within its discretion, a part of its internal routine processes and similar actions are taken daily against user violations. It should therefore not be a reason to demonstrate the strength of government and deny Nigerians the legitimate right to free expression and association, which, the Twitter platform provides.
MOSOP sees the Tweeter ban as indicating an increasingly repressive orientation than a system that critically looks at the implication of decisions on public life and businesses. It baffles us that a government that has invested so much in canvassing for foreign inflows into Nigeria will take such a decision against a platform that provides one of the most powerful networks for business interaction and advertising without considering its effects on the economy.
We therefore, hold that the Twitter ban hurts and derogates our national prestige, will deter investments into Nigeria and tends to portray our system as repressive and unfriendly to businesses.
MOSOP therefore calls on the government to rescind the decision on Twitter. We further urge the government not to show its strength against private businesses and individuals especially at this time that it faces serious challenges from terrorists and internal instability, which it has not been able to grapple with.