The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) has called for the reversal of the suspension of Twitter, describing the ban as regressive.
In a statement by its President, Malam. Kabiru A. Yusuf, the association called for dialogue in resolving the issues between the Federal Government and the micro-blogging platform.
Daily Trust reports that the federal government on Friday slammed suspension on Twitter after the platform deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet on civil war.
In the statement, NPAN noted that it was the threat of “maximum state reprisal” against the insurrectionists in the South-East that Twitter found objectionable and decided to delete the post in line with its policy.
“This is not the first time Twitter would sanction world leaders for infractions against its stated policy. It did so to President Donald Trump of the United States of America, to global aplomb when Trump instigated violence against the Capitol,” NPAN stated.
According to it, Nigerians have also questioned Twitter for its alleged double standard by hasting to sanction Buhari “while pampering an unrestrained Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)” whom it noted “used same Twitter not just for serial hate speeches but for actually provoking and justifying violence in his separatist agitations.”
The NPAN noted that the insurrectionists in the South-East “have been committing arson against public assets like police stations, prisons and the courts; freeing prisoners from lawful custody, killing policemen and soldiers as well as harmless civilians.”
“It is a state of fear in the South East of Nigeria as in almost all over the country where terrorists, Kidnappers, farmer/herder clashes have almost crippled Nigeria.
“To the extent that Twitter may have been hasty in sanctioning President Buhari and shown an uneven application of its rules against separatist Kanu, its sincerity stands questioned. It should correct itself,” it added.
The Association, however, reiterated that suspending the platform was not the solution, saying at this period of the nation’s history, the country needs friends and not enemies globally.
The statement read further: “However, The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), thinks that the suspension of Twitters operation by Nigeria is wrong and an overreaction.
“The action would not win us friends as closure of public space limits public discourse and democratic advancement. It is a futile exercise in any case, as other platforms are more likely to suspect Nigeria’s intentions towards democratic tenets and act adversarially towards Nigeria.
“Twitter is a global platform for public communication that has expanded the frontiers of Free Speech and Press Freedom. It is a platform for business that has brought relief to Nigeria’s youthful population who have prospered by its operation.
“The NPAN believes Twitter as a business is not infallible and can be influenced through high level engagement, to be a more responsive, liberal platform of public good and not a cynical champion of suspicious causes.
“There should be a compromise: Nigeria needs friends and not enemies at this critical juncture of her existence. She should not play into the hands of the enemies who are relentless in seeking to destroy and ostracise her. Banning Twitter is regressive and should be rescinded in favour of dialogue.”