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Buhari’s suspension of Twitter is irritating- Soyinka

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has joined millions of Nigerians condemning President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to approve the ban of American microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, after deletes he made on the country’s civil war that ended in 1970, describing the government’s move against the firm as an irritating gesture.

Soyinka added that rather than place a ban on the foreign firm that had Nigerians on their payroll, the president should sort out whatever personal issue he and members of his cabinet had against Twitter peacefully without resorting to wielding government hammer.

The nobel laureate’s response came hours after the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced Twitter’s suspension and that the decision was taken after it became obvious that the platform was been used to portray the government badly.

Speaking through a statement made available to The Guild on Friday, Soyinka said that he lacked surprise over the government actions, saying this is a petulant gesture and unbecoming of a democratically elected president.

According to him, if Buhari has a problem with Twitter, he is advised to sort it out between them personally, the way Donald Trump did, not rope in the right to free expression of the Nigerian citizen as collateral damage.

“In any case, this is a technical problem Nigerians should be able to work their way around. The field of free expression remains wide open, free of any dictatorial spasms!”, he added.

Earlier, the Minister alleged that the foreign firm has allowed its platform to be used for activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Muhammed, in a statement released on Friday by Special Assistant to the President on Media, Segun Adeyemi, which was also published on the government’s Twitter account, stressed that the government, who had been appealing to foreign investors to set up offices in Nigeria, took the decision basically to protect sovereignty of the country.

The Minister, meanwhile, disclosed that the central government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all online and social media operations across the country.

It would be recalled that the president had in series of tweets wrote “many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand”.

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