The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has urged the federal government to tread with caution and immediately reconsider the suspension of the operation of Twitter in Nigeria.
The professional body in a statement signed by its President, Mustapha Isah and Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren asked the government to seek other legitimate means of resolving its dispute with the company.
The NGE said the federal government’s action has the unintended consequence of jeopardising the economic interests of many Nigerians who rely on the social media platform for vital information to make informed business decisions daily.
They advised the federal government to desist from any action that would project the Nigerian government as a dictatorship, saying the action is an infringement on Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution and violates the right of Nigerians to interact freely on this platform.
‘’In addition, the suspension is a grave breach of Nigeria’s international obligations under article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
‘’If the federal government finds Twitter’s action against the President objectionable, Nigerians should not be made to suffer the collateral damage of denying them their right to freely discourse on Twitter’’, the Guild added.
The federal government’s action to suspend Twitter followed her grievance with the social media outfit for taking down the President ‘s statement to the people he described as those who wants to jeopardize his government.
“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 field for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand” Buhari ‘s statement on Twitter which was deleted for violating Twitter’ s rules.
However, reacting to the suspension, Twitter in a short statement said, “Buhari statement was in violation of rule 4 of the company.
“Dear @MBuhari, we have no idea who you are or what country you are leading, we have come across a tweet that violate our rule number 4 of “safety and freedom” and removed it. Twitter said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed had earlier accused Twitter of double standard and that her mission in the country is suspicious by deleting the President’s statement.
Although the federal government has issued a strong warning of the immediate prosecution of offenders of the ban through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Facebook has joined Twitter in deleting the President ‘s controversial statement.
The suspension has generated reactions both from within and outside the shores of the country.