State Dept. Slams Nigeria’s Twitter Ban

( In early June, Twitter removed a tweet from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari claiming the post violated its policy on abusive behavior. In the removed tweet, President Buhari promised to punish pro-Biafra groups blamed for a series of attacks against Nigerian government agencies and security forces.

In response to Twitter’s actions, the Nigerian government suspended the social media giant’s access to the country. Major telecom networks began blocking the platform two days after Twitter removed the President’s post.

On June 4, Nigeria’s information minister announced that Twitter’s access was “indefinitely suspended” because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

In a June 5 tweet from Twitter Public Policy, the social media giant known for its heavy-handed deployment of user suspensions expressed its deep concern over Nigeria’s move – claiming a “free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.”

Ironic coming from Twitter.

Now the US State Department is getting involved.

In a statement released June 10, State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned Nigeria for suspending Twitter and called on its government to reverse its decision.

Price claimed that restricting the Nigerian people’s access to Twitter “has no place in a democracy,” arguing that access to information and freedom of expression “both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.”

Price also expressed concern over the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission’s order that all television and radio stations stop using Twitter.

Many in Nigerian have begun using VPNs in order to bypass the government’s Twitter ban. In response, Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice ordered prosecutors and the nation’s communications regulator to begin charging and arresting those attempting to circumvent the ban.

Calling on the Nigerian government reverse its suspension and crackdown, the State Department closed its statement by urging the government to “respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression.”

If only the Biden Administration cared as much about US citizens’ rights “both online and offline.”