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13.09.2021 news ‘Now the NCDC Cannot Tweet’ — Twitter Ban Frustrating COVID-19 Updates

Published 13th Sep, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

Yemi Adamolekun, the Executive Director of Enough is Enough (EiE), a platform that campaigns for better governance in Nigeria, has said the suspension of Twitter was done illegally by the government.

Speaking at a conference to mark 100 days of Twitter ban, she said there was no court pronouncement authorising the ban.

“It is important that we also are clear that if the Federal Government of Nigeria wanted to ban Twitter, they could have done it legally. But as I have not seen a document, neither a court order or a letter, what seems to have happened is that people got phone calls to stop using Twitter.

“We also saw that during #EndSARS protests, the CBN closed accounts and only got court orders after the action had been taken. We cannot run a democracy like that.”

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Lamenting the development at an event tagged “100 Days Post #TwitterBan Press Conference” organised by EiE, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Paradigm Initiative (PIN) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Ayode Longe, the Programme Director of MRA, compared the Nigerian government to its US counterpart.

He said, “We saw what happened in the US. Donald Trump’s accounts on both Facebook and Twitter were banned and no one banned those apps. But because President Buhari’s Tweet went against Twitter’s policy and was deleted, the app was banned in Nigeria.”

BAN DENIES NIGERIANS ACCESS TO NCDC’S COVID-19 UPDATES

Since the suspension of Twitter took effect on June 5, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been unable to give its daily COVID-19 updates on the platform.

“When Vaccines were being given the first time, most people I know that began to share the information took it from Twitter,” said Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative.

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“Now, the NCDC cannot tweet. Government moved to Koo, an Indian platform, where, unfortunately, they seem to have done what the Nigerian government seems to do best: abandon their own interests.”

Since June 5, when it posted that the total COVID-19 cases in the country was 162,584, NCDC has not given an update on Twitter.

The suspension of Twitter was announced by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, on June 4, after the platform pulled down a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari for violating its rules.

Published 13th Sep, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

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