NIGERIAN entertainment celebrities have condemned the recent decision of the federal government to ban Twitter saying it makes a mockery of democracy and will affect their work as they try to reach out to their fans.
Yesterday, Nigeria’s information minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced an indefinite suspension of Twitter operations across country. This followed an ongoing spat between Twitter and President Muhammadu Buhari after his account was suspended for threatening Igbos in the southeast of the country with war if they continued their agitation for secession.
An information ministry spokesman said: “The federal government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the micro-blogging 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 persistent 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 to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”
In response, several celebrities have announced their displeasure. Popular skit maker Debo Adebayo, fondly referred to as Mr Macaroni reminded the government that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) used Twitter as an efficient campaign tool in 2015.
Mr Adebayo said: “General Buhari and the APC used this same Twitter to criticise past administrations and campaign for elections. Now that the citizens are holding them accountable with the same platform, the heat is catching them and they want to take away the people’s freedom to speak.
“This administration has done nothing but make life miserable for Nigerians. No ideas, no innovations, no solutions to problems. Nothing! Just sheer arrogance and irresponsibility.
“Social media was sweet and juicy in 2015 but now it is bitter because we use the same social media to demand good governance from you. You sir have indeed given us a new Nigeria of killings, kidnapping, banditry, loss of jobs, economic instability and dictatorship.”
Popular singer Darey Art Alade, added: “We are all emotionally drained. How much more of this can we really take? Fix the country, no, fix the economy, no, fix insecurity, no!!! Gag the little freedoms remaining, yes.”
Music executive, Steve Babaeko, said: “The Naija youth is an endangered species. Crypto ban means loss of livelihood and Twitter ban means more loss of livelihood Meanwhile, youth unemployment stands tall at almost 35%.”
Singer turned politician, Banky W, added:“Nigerian government bans Twitter and announces the ban on Twitter. You can’t make this up. Clueless. They can’t stop kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism, the country is as unsafe as ever and yet they can seize passports and block bank accounts of peaceful protesters.
“They ban cryptocurrency, they ban Twitter. Completely out of touch with the plight of young people. Where are all our elected reps and senators that are supposed to represent us?
“Are they all going to continue to stay silent? Government is called public service because they’re meant to serve the public but they’ve turned government into a shortcut to wealth and a retirement home.”