The Federal Government said it is in discussions with Twitter after it suspended the social media giant’s operations in the country, foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama told reporters Monday. “There are discussions ongoing with Twitter, we will see how that progresses, so I cannot say for now the duration of the suspension,” Onyeama said after a meeting with diplomats on the issue.
The Government said it was suspending the platform on Friday, two days after Twitter deleted a comment from the president’s account for violating its rules. The suspension came into effect on Saturday as many Nigerian users resorted to Virtual Private Networks to access Twitter. Earlier on Monday, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had directed all TV and radio stations to “suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately,” describing its use as unpatriotic.
“Broadcasting stations are hereby advised to de-install twitter handles and desist from using Twitter as a source… of information gathering for news,” NBC’s director Armstrong Idachaba wrote in a statement. “It would be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronise the suspended Twitter as a source of its information.” More than 39 million Nigerians have a Twitter account, according to NOI polls, a public opinion and research organisation.
Some Nigerian broadcasters are concerned the clampdown on Twitter is part of more general crackdown against the media.