Africa’s literacy giant, Professor Wole Soyinka has faulted the federal government’s decision to indefinitely ban the operation of Twitter in Nigeria.
Soyinka, who is the first recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in Africa, in his reaction described the move by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as a “petulant gesture” that is “unbecoming of a democratically elected president”.
The New Diplomat had reported that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement signed by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, announced the ban of the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
According to the statement, the microblogging and social networking service has been used to persistently undermine Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria”, the statement partly read.
However, Soyinka in his reaction described the ban as unconstitutional.
Soyinka also cited the incidence involving former President of US Donald Trump, whose Twitter’s account was suspended but didn’t ban the operation of the microblogging company in his country.
Soyinka, however, expressed confidence that Nigerians will find a way to bypass the ban in order to continue using the social media platform.
In his words: “If Buhari has a problem with Twitter, he is advised to sort it out between them personally, the way Donald Trump did, not rope in the right to free expression of the Nigerian citizen as collateral damage.
“In any case, this is a technical problem Nigerians should be able to work their way around. The field of free expression remains wide open, free of any dictatorial spasms!”
Recall that The New Diplomat had reported that Buhari on Tuesday took to his official Twitter handle to caution insurrectionists responsible for the destruction of public institutions recently reported in the South-East.
Buhari, who was reacting to the destruction of 42 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) buildings across Nigeria, primarily in the Southeast, threatened to “shock” those responsible for the arson.
However, following the massive complains filed by many Twitter users, the microblogging company decided to delete the said President’s tweet, a decision which sparked criticism from the FG.
Mohammed had condemned Twitter’s action, saying it raised suspicion about the company’s intention in Nigeria.