By Gabriel Ewepu
CIVIL Society Organisations, CSOs, Thursday, reacted over Federal Government’s lifting of Twitter ban after seven months on Wednesday, while expressing their views on the development.
There’s nothing cheering on lifting Twitter ban-AGDI. The Executive Director, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “The ban on Twitter was equally a test of the resilience of Nigerians, especially the youth who saw the federal government’s action as personal to the president, selfish and undemocratic, and so were able to navigate the ban with the use of several Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
“The ban was less effective and many Nigerians were able to use Twitter for the entire duration of the embargo, it is in doubt the federal government was able to negotiate from an area of strength.
“That the negotiation dragged for another three months after the President conceded on October 1, 2021, to unban Twitter if certain conditions are met could indicate that the government was unable to negotiate advantageously significantly.
“There is nothing cheering or to celebrate with the lifting of the ban because it was unnecessary, parochial and self-serving. The federal did not ban Twitter for the national interest but regime protection.
“We do not expect Twitter to concede to undemocratic conditions because there are minimum global standards and thresholds that Twitter cannot fall below in terms of protecting the right of users in civic technology spaces.
“There is nothing if the government can get Twitter through to register, pay taxes and employ a few Nigerians, but using these conditions to negotiate was an afterthought after drawing criticism for ego-banning Twitter to protect the President.
“The ban on Twitter had exposed the regime as intolerant and President Buhari as unrepentant of his dictatorial tendency. We expect some level of monitoring, but it will change nothing because people critical of the Buhari regime are expected to do more as we enter the elections season.
“Nigerians enjoy the freedom of speech and association as enshrined in the constitution, and nothing can take that away, even though no freedom is absolute.”
FG has tarnished Nigeria’s image whether lifting Twitter ban-CN
The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Prince Deji Adeyanju, said Federal Government has tarnished Nigeria’s image in the comity of nations whether lifting Twitter ban.
Adeyanju said: “The Twitter ban was an anti-democratic act, it has no basis in law because our constitution has made explicit provision and Nigerians have the right to fully express themselves and receive information.
“So the ban is a contravention of the right of Nigerians to receive, hold and share opinion on social media, especially on mobile app Twitter.
“The only exceptions; the Freedom of Expression it has been for public safety and health, order, morality, and the ban did not fall within those exceptions of their omnibus clause of the constitution because the only reason why Twitter was banned because the ego of the President was affected; he made a hate speech against the Ibos and Twitter rightly deleted his tweet, and how does the ego of the President been bruised amount to the exceptions of the omnibus clause put in the constitution? It does not fall within the exception.
“I believe that we supposed to be in a constitutional democracy but this is actually a totalitarian regime.
READ ALSO: The conditions FG gave Twitter
“It is unfortunate whether the conditions set by the Federal Government which it now alleged that Twitter ascended to if it is indeed true that it ascended to censorship of citizens of Nigeria then Twitter has become an enabler of tyranny, and Twitter is now an active tool in suppressing free speech, and this can never augur well with democratic governance in any part of the world.
“Whether lifting of the ban by government portrays Nigerian in bad light, of course it does among the comity of nations because when the human right index is going to come it is going to reflect this, and this ban is going to be one of the key indicators and key factors and it is going to affect Nigeria’s standing in the human rights index because citizens cannot freely express themselves and cannot freely speak.
“There should not only be freedom of speech there should be freedom after speech and this is what the current regime is taking away from Nigerian citizens.
“The action of the government of course is shrinking the civic space because you can see majority a lot of the people in the last 222 days were using VPN to tweet. It has affected businesses in the country and several other things, and limited the rights of citizens and this cannot be acceptable in a democracy.
“Many of us defied the ban because it is the irreducible minimum in a democracy that when authoritarian regimes bear their fangs it is the responsibility of the citizens to live up to their responsibility and claim their rights.
“No government will ever concede your right to you if you do not lay claim to it, and that was exactly what happened during #ENDSARS that citizens woke up to their responsibility and they said no these barbaric killings, this violations of fundamental human right, extra-judicious killings cannot happen, and this was what many of us did.
“We were ready to go to jail as threatened by Malami and we defied them and the government ban.
“Nigerians must continue to defy the tyrannical acts of its government because in words of Thomas Jefferson “When the government fail the people they is democracy and when the people fail the government they is tyranny.”
Punishing Nigerians before lifting Twitter ban insensitive-OLF
The Founder and Global President, One Love Foundation, OLF, Chief Patrick Eholor, said Federal Government punishing Nigerians before lifting Twitter ban is insensitive.
“We receive with joy and mixed feelings that Twitter ban has been reversed by the federal government but the position of One Love Foundation is that the ban into was illegal and unconstitutional.
“I therefore want to say that if the government fears its citizens, it is freedom and this is step again to remind our people who have been very docile that power belongs to the people and that without the people there is no government.
“It is a mixed feeling to me that is coming at this time to lift up the ban of twitter after he (Buhari) has punished us as citizens, and not just only punished us, we have lost a lot of money because people depend on this and people were making a living out of this.”