The Federal Government has directed all broadcast stations in the country to go off Twitter with immediate effect.
Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstong Idachaba, gave the directive in a memo to broadcast stations.
The memo reads: “Consequent on the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government over the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission directs all Broadcasting Stations in Nigeria to suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately.”
He quoted section 2(1) r of the NBC Act in the memo, which gives the commission the power to ensure strict adherence to the national laws, rules and regulations to back up his directive.
“Also, section 3.11.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code provides that ‘the broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a matter depicting that law and order are socially superior to or more desirable than Crime and Anarchy’”, he added.
He also drew the broadcasters’ attention to section 5.6.3 of the code which requires them to be mindful of materials that may cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society in the use of a User Generated Content (UGC).
He said it will be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronize the suspended Twitter as a source of its information “therefore strict compliance is enjoined.”
Nigerians have ignored the ban and have been accessing twitter through the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) but on Saturday, Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice, threatened that those still making use of Twitter will be prosecuted.
Nigerians and the international community have frowned at the action of government, describing it as clamping down on the rights of Nigerian to freedom of expression.
Some prominent Nigerians have been tweeting and even dared the government to arrest them, claiming it’s a way to silence the opposition.