TWITTER BAN: A time for Caution – Group warns

 

 

Coordinator of 1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment, Obong Ide Owodiong-Idemeko, strongly supports the angst of Nigerians at home and Diaspora regarding the recent decision by the Federal Government to temporarily suspend Twitter “because the telecom company deleted a tweet by President Buhari where the Nigerian President alluded to his experience in the bloody Nigeria-Biafra civil war (1967-1970) and threatened to punish those instigating dissent.”

 

Obong Owodiong-Idemeko, through a statement signed by the group’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Uwem-obong Ankak, said “The reasons for this alignment stems from the recent action of the Federal Government which is akin to gagging the media. It can undermine the corporate existence of our country and the growth of our nascent democracy. In fact, this is coming on the heels of imposition of series of fines on media outlets especially privately owned electronic media, and attempts at controlling online posts that are critical of government decisions.”

 

The statement also said the real effect of the face-off between the Federal Government and Twitter can be summarized as “Massive loss of jobs is imminent. Self-employed youths who are finding solace, making a living with online enterprises, digital marketing and media influencing for both individuals and corporate organizations, using the twitter handle are in for a rough time.”

 

“There will be further erosion of scarce foreign investment to Nigeria. It is a negative signal to investors who may have wanted to bring their capital to enhance the economy. No investor wants to invest in an environment where the rule of law is not respected, or the government shows evidence of erratic decision making.”

 

“This singular action will further damage Nigeria’s reputation in the international community. Nigerian government is obviously going to be seen as incapable of tolerating contrary opinion, or heavy handed, a norm not tolerated in the international community.”

 

“This Ill-informed decision to suspend Twitter in Nigeria no matter it’s temporary nature, is already eliciting international outrage and likely to affect our relationship with these advanced democratic nations of the world. These are not the best options for a country with debilitating debt profile, import-dependent economy, and infrastructural deficit.”

 

“Most important, this singular action will further widen the economic, social, and political gap between the governed and the government.  We do not believe any conscientious government would want to see this scenario. All the strange happenings in Nigeria in recent years can be ascribed to the crippling poverty gap and horizontal inequalities existing between social groups and classes.”

 

The statement further said the “1001+ Voices would therefore want the Nigerian government to reconsider its stand on this unpopular decision and reach an agreeable settlement with Twitter for the overall benefit of all Nigerians.”

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