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Sanwo-Olu recommends dialogue to end Nigeria, Twitter face-off

By Idowu Abdullahi

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged the Federal Government to reconsider its stance on ban emplaced on American microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, across Nigeria, saying continuous suspension of the social media operations in Nigeria would have dire consequence on its economy, particularly youth-owned ventures.

He added that rather than wield the big stick unanimously, the government could explore other diplomatic routes, including dialoguing with Twitter as part of measures to reach a truce and mend fences where necessary for restoration of operations across the country.

The governor described the outright banning of the social networking service from operating in Nigeria as hurting, warning that it was important Nigeria do not throw away baby with the water.

“People are losing money but there are also security issues. Let us be circumspect and not throw the baby away with the bathwater,” Sanwo-Olu said when he featured on a popular television show on Monday morning.

He clarified that though the government has more information at its disposal before taking the decision, it would be helpful if the apex government reexamine its decision and possibly review its impact on Nigerians and the nation’s economy.

“Regarding the specifics around Twitter, I cannot sit down here with all of the responsibilities that I have and fly (sic) the commander in chief of the armed forces. He would have the prognosis and security information that I do not have. I cannot begin to say that was he’s done is right or wrong.

“What I see is that on both sides, there are issues that can be resolved between Twitter and the (Federal) Government and I think what they’ve done is not a ban but a suspension. So, in the period of suspension, let us sit down…we need to have that conversation with them (Twitter).

“In other climes, they sign some underlying agreements on the rules of engagement. I am not sure that is happening here. Having said that, the Federal Government can also handle things a lot better because of the number of e-commerce, because of the number of youths that are doing a lot of things on the internet and we cannot throw that away.

“I believe there could be better restrain and management from both sides. In the next one or two days, let us see that happen. Lagos is hurting, our youths are hurting, Nigeria is hurting, let us understand the issues and put it behind us so that we don’t politicise it,” he said.

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