BEVERLY HILLS, June 06, (THEWILL) – The Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA) has described the Federal Government’s decision to ban Twitter as obnoxious and undemocratic, and demanded an immediate and unconditional reversal of the directive.
The group spoke recently in Lagos via a statement signed by its Programme Coordinator, Media and Policy, Utomi Jerome-Mario, and made available to the media.
According to SEJA, the development was one more proof of how much President Muhammadu Buhari had taken this nation off-track. Contesting the claim by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that the decision was caused by Twitter’s persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, the group stressed that such argument could not hold water when faced with embarrassing facts.
The group further observed that the Federal Government’s directive to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria was another effort in futility.
According to the rights advocate, what appeared curious was that instead of joining Nigeria and Nigerians to mourn the dearth of leadership and derailment of values, strange support was being give to the obnoxious policy by some individuals and organizations who ordinarily ought to be development-minded.
SEJA said: ‘We are particularly worried about the torrent of spurious arguments and slanted approval by those who ordinarily ought to know that what the Federal Government is doing cannot in any way be judged as right.
“Though it is hard to believe, it is true that the greatest of such controversial support and spurious argument came from a sister organisation and one of the foremost media rights group in Africa known as Media Rights Protectors, as it recently threw its full weight
behind the decision of the Nigerian government to ban the activities of Twitter in the country.”
Media Rights Protectors had, in a statement released to newsmen by the group’s Director of African Affairs, Dr. Michael Warungu in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian on Friday night, among other things, argued that Twitter had deviated from promoting free speech, deepening democracy and encouraging balanced and objective journalism to dabbling in Africa’s domestic affairs by promoting regime change across the continent.
Utomi declared that SEJA could only support policies of the government that would not in any way dent or obstruct its primary responsibility to the masses in a democratic society.
“We note with sadness that this present action taken by the Federal Government is unpalatable, unacceptable and shall not stand,” Utomi explained. “Across the world, the media are used to among other things inculcate and reinforce positive political, cultural, social attitudes among the citizenries. And ‘where the media are free, the marketplace of ideas sorts the irresponsible from the responsible and rewards the latter.’ We must therefore, allow Twitter to function in the country as it presently assists all, particularly our youths, to create a mood in which they become keen to acquire skills and disciplines of