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Twitter Ban in Nigeria: What Happened & Current State of Things

twitter ban in Nigeria

Twitter Ban in Nigeria

Disclaimer: This article is without prejudice to the Nigerian government and the citizenry. It presents the current state of things based on many sources. Let’s roll.

On the 1st of June, 2021, President Muhamadu Buhari made a tweet, understood to be referring to and threatening the southeastern secessionists in Nigeria.

The tweet read,

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. – Source

On Wednesday, 2nd June, 2021, Twitter deleted the tweet for being against its “abusive behaviour” policy, and suspended Buhari’s account for 12 hours. Before then, there were several calls by Nigerians to take the tweet down.

The honorable Minister for information and culture – Lai Mohammed- held a press conference at the state house in Abuja, where he mentioned that;

The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very very suspect. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending, has it? The same Twitter during the endsars program that was funding endsars protesters was the first to close the account of former President of Us, Trump. And you see, when people were burning police stations and killing police men in Nigeria during endsar, for Twitter it was about the right to protest. But when a similar thing happened on the capitol, it became insurrection. You see, we are not going to be fooled by anybody, we have a country to rule, and we’ll do so to the best of our ability. Twitter’s mission in Nigeria, citing those two examples, is very suspect. What is their agenda?

This a transcription of his words, from a video by Channels, found on PUNCH.

On June 4, the government, through the ministry of information and culture announced its decision to suspend the social media giant – Twitter – in the country, in a statement, as follows:

The Federal Government has suspended indefinitely the operations of the microblogging and social networking service Twitter in Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the presistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.

Copied from TechCrunch

Accoriding to Aljazeera, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) confirmed its members had received formal instructions from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, to suspend access to Twitter.


On Saturday, BBC reporters in Lagos and Abuja said they were unable to connect to Twitter through MTN and Airtel – which are two of Nigeria’s largest phone networks. Other Network providers have also been affected.

According to Statcounter, about 28% of Nigerians (56, 000,000+) use Twitter. It is reasonable to assume that a large percentage of these people have not being able to use the platform. This would have a significant effect on Twitter’s market, particularly in Africa.

Twitter, in an email to TechCrunch, said, “the announcement made by the Nigerian Government that they have suspended Twitter’s operations in Nigeria is deeply concerning. We’re investigating and will provide updates when we know more.” This is also reflected in their tweet.

We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.
We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) June 5, 2021

Responses to the Ban

There have been many responses from individuals and corporate bodies.

The suspension was announced on Twitter, which led to various comments by different persons about how the government had used Twitter to announce the suspension of Twitter.

Many concerned individuals have made tweets, expressing their dissatisfactions, determinations, and conclusions.

On Friday, Amnesty International condemned the move, calling on Nigeria to “immediately reverse the unlawful suspension”.

Both Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and the Nigerian Bar Association has mentioned taking legal actions against the Nigerian government if the ban on Twitter is not “immediately reversed”. The Tweet from Olumide Apata reads:

The @NigBarAssoc has noted with great concern the extraordinary decision of the Federal Govt to suspend the operations of @Twitter in Nigeria and, by necessary implication, the right of Nigerians to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions through that medium.
— Olumide Akpata (@OlumideAkpata) June 4, 2021– {Adapted from CNN}


In the meantime, a research I did on Google trends revealed that the search for ‘VPN’ on Google has tremendously increased over the last 24 hours in Nigeria. That says it all. VPN is Virtual Private Network (there’s more information about VPN in a post from The Guardian). See image below.

Thanks for reading. Share this information on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Also, let me know what you think about the current state of things in the comment session below. How has the ban affected you? (Express yourself, however, try not to be abusive as much as possible).

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