I find it imperative to kick start this piece by giving a background of the man behind Twitter which is presently in the eye of the storm following its illegal activities across the globe.
Unfortunately Twitter’s co-founder and present owner, Jack Patrick Dorsey, has background of multiple citizenship, which should have ordinarily given him a vantage position to manage Twitter without any prejudices, justly and objectively.
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Born to English, Irish and Italian descent on November 19, 1976, Jack is an American billionaire technologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist who is both the co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, a financial payments company.
Google and Twitter had, in January 2017, agreed to an acquisition deal – just not the one many expected three months ago – for Google to acquire Twitter’s suite.
Nigerians woke up early on June 4 this year to the reality of a Twitter ban and downloading Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to access Twitter despite the ban slammed by the Nigerian government.
Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed had said that the suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government is only temporary and aimed at restoring responsible social media practice in the country.
No one doubts the fact that the suspension order will naturally cause some pains and stresses here and there because of the obvious and inherent addiction to Twitter by its subscribers. But the measure will no doubt and in a not-too-distant future be beneficial to the country’s economy and its independence as a sovereign state.
The Presidency in its reaction said its decision to “temporarily” ban Twitter wasn’t a “knee-jerk reaction” to the social media network’s deletion of President Buhari’s tweets but on the fact that Twitter has long been accused of spreading “misinformation and fake news” which can have “real world violent consequences.”
A statement signed by PMB’s media aide Garba Shehu added; “The temporary suspension of Twitter is not just a response to the removal of the President’s post but due to a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences. All the while, the company had escaped accountability”.
In the words of Shehu, major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives.
It is clear that the ban is justified and that the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing and that the censoring of PMB’s tweets seemed to be based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria is passing through by Twitter.
It needs not over stretching the fact that IPOB is a group proscribed by a Nigerian court, due to campaign seeking secession of the South-East region of the country from Nigeria which is predominantly inhabited by Igbos.
“When the President said that they will be treated ‘in a language they understand,’ he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over,” the media aide added.
“This is not promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists.
“IPOB is proscribed under Nigerian law. Its members murder innocent Nigerians. They kill policemen and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country.
“The conclusion is that Twitter is not appreciative of the national trauma of our country’s civil war. This government shall not allow a recurrence of that tragedy.”
Indications are that IPOB as a terrorist group and its leader, Kanu are having field days tweeting venoms of hate speech, war and violence capable of setting the country on fire. And sadly, Twitter doesn’t seem to see such tweets as triggers for war in the country
The handwriting of Twitter waging a relentless war on Nigeria was clear that her target is Nigeria when it decided to locate it’s African headquarter in Ghana with less than a million subscribers as against Nigeria’s millions of subscribers. Indeed, this alone is enough to tell the wailing PDP and their likes that Twitter is all out to give Nigeria a deadly blow.
Regrettably, Twitter did not find Nnamdi Kanu’s several tweets as inciting violence, killings, destruction of state and individual properties and general rebellion against a legitimate government, deserving a ban and deleting such tweets as an appropriate response.
Twitter owner Jack, gives free space for terrorists and insurgents to push out contents of violence that destabilizes Nigeria but tries to censor PMB for threatening criminals killing and destroying facilities.
Jack actively sponsors and aids anything akin to disorder in Nigeria in the name of democracy.
Already, Twitter has lost at least $15million since the ban order came into effect in less than seven days. Only God knows how much they will lose from Nigerian patronage as long as the suspension lasts. Certainly, Twitter has behaved foolishly.
Former USA President Donald Trump congratulated Nigeria for suspending Twitter in the country for suppressing free and open speech.
Other countries like Britain, China, India, Germany and a whole lot of others have gone through such challenges in their lives in the hands of Google, Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook and they came out stronger.
However, several reactions trailed the suspension order slammed on Twitter by the Nigerian government some of which are like the biblical double-edged sword of positivity and negativity.
Reacting, the main opposition party, PDP described the development as “primitive intolerance and power intoxication”, while the caucus of the PDP in the House of Representatives, says it will sue the federal government if the decision to suspend the operations of Twitter in the country is not reversed.
Reacting, the opposition party described the development as “primitive intolerance and power intoxication”.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, urged the Nigerian government to respect the rights of its citizens including the freedom of speech. In a series of tweets with #TwitterBan while reacting to the suspension of Twitter by the government, Simard however added: “Freedom of speech must be used responsibly online and offline”.
The ban on Twitter is a blessing for Nigeria and indeed all African countries as they press for better deals with other high-tech enterprises like Google, Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook and their likes. Even the newly accepted social media ‘bride’, Koo should not be left out.
Musa Ilallah writes in from Abuja