Nigerian telecommunications companies blocked users’ access to Twitter this Saturday (5), after a directive that intends to indefinitely suspend the American social network. The act has been criticized by human rights defenders and diplomats and reported as an obstacle to freedom of expression in the country.
“Based on the national interest provisions … our members have acted in accordance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission,” said the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (Alton), confirming the suspension.
The Nigerian government said on Friday it had suspended Twitter activities indefinitely – which came two days after the platform deleted a post from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish the separatists.
After the suspension, the country’s attorney general said those who break the rules will be prosecuted.
According to the New York Times, Nigerian activists and intellectuals managed to keep posting even after this Saturday’s suspension using private servers – many using the hashtag “Thank God for VPN”.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Friday that the government had taken the decision due to “the continued use of the platform for activities that could undermine Nigeria’s existence.”
The Ministry of Information published the announcement of the suspension of Twitter – on the social network itself.
Last year, Buhari’s government proposed legislation to regulate social media after protests alleging police brutality escalated over Twitter campaigns.
The platform said on Saturday that it would work to regain access to everyone who depends on Twitter in Nigeria to communicate and connect with the world. He also said in his account that the suspension is “very worrying”.
Amnesty International, a human rights group, condemned the episode in a Twitter post and called on the Nigerian authorities “to immediately reverse the illegal suspension and other plans to suppress media and human rights in the country. country ”.
Recently, more than 100 children were abducted from a school in western Nigeria, bringing the total number of students abducted in the country to 700 in the past six months.