United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has lashed out at the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari over the suspension of twitter operations in Nigeria.
He said restriction of social media use has no place in a democracy.
In a statement on Thursday signed by Blinken’s spokesman, Ned Price, ‘Nigeria’s Twitter Suspension’, Blinken condemned the suspension of Twitter.
The statement reads: “The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter.
The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.
Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy. Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.
“We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity. As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension.”
The Federal Government last Friday suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria, “citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
It also said all Over The Top and social media platforms must be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission, a move that has been described as an attempt to gag freedom of expression in Nigeria.