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13.01.2022 news From NCDC to NFF, How Twitter Ban Hampered the Work of Gov’t Institutions

Published 13th Jan, 2022

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

From June 4, 2021, when the Nigerian Government enforced the ban on Twitter, many government ministries, departments, and agencies suspended activities on the microblogging platform with immediate effect. 

Compliance with this ban by the public institutions had negative consequences for their abilities to fulfill their responsibilities to the public.

NIGERIA POLICE FORCE

Following a nationwide protest against police brutality in 2020, the Nigeria Police Force became more compelled to prosecute cases of extrajudicial killings, police extortion, illegal arrest and detention by maintaining a quick response to complaints on social media, particularly Twitter.

Although the Complaint Response Unit (CRU) had been existing before #EndSARS protests, the likes of Segun Awosanya (SEGA) and Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, popularly known as Ruggedman, gave CRU a prominence at the height of the agitations.

With a mere tagging of their Twitter handle on short videos, pictures, and threads of tweets, this arm of the Nigeria Police was able to quickly track complaints of injustice against policemen.

After the Twitter ban, the CRU was still operational on Facebook, but with Nigerian youths more active on Twitter, the CRU missed out on numerous complaints against the Police. Sad.

NIGERIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION

Only on Tuesday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) missed a glorious opportunity to celebrate with Nigerians on Twitter after the Super Eagles outclassed Egypt (never mind that the scoreline was only 1-0) at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

But this wasn’t the first. In the lead-up to the tournament, Twitter, where the NFF is most followed, was silent about things like squad list and absentee players. Obscure.

  1. National Assembly

Both arms of Nigeria’s National Assembly were hugely hit by the Twitter ban in the dissemination of information, a vital attribute of democracy.

For example, in late November, the National Assembly transmitted the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill 2021 to President Muhammdu Buhari for assent. For the fourth time, the President refused to sign the bill. 

In the past, the Senate and House of Representatives shared highlights of their live sessions on Twitter. With the ban, this didn’t happen.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: FG Lifts Twitter Ban

  1. The Presidency

To the disadvantage of Buhari’s media aides like Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina, the flow of communication between the Presidency and Nigerians became more tedious after the Twitter ban.

Twitter remains the most viable means of information transmission on social media. The efforts to speak with Nigerians have doubled ever since Twitter was officially suspended; the President himself granted more broadcast interviews, while his media aides attended more radio and television programmes.

Many of Buhari’s activities were primarily announced on Twitter by his aides. From June to date, nothing of such happened. Self-sabotage. 

  1. Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

As of Thursday morning, over 250,000 people had contracted Coronavirus in Nigeria, while over 3,000 persons had died of the virus. Many Nigerians are not aware of this.

In the past, NCDC’s Twitter handle disseminated daily information about the virus and how best to steer clear of it. The Omicron variant of COVID was detected after the ban, leaving the agency struggling to properly educate Nigerians on the demerits of the low turnout of Nigerians for vaccination. On the NCDC’s website, the statistics about the virus were available but most Nigerians are not familiar with the use. Twitter did it easy for them. Life-threatening.

Published 13th Jan, 2022

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

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