Sunday, July 25, 2021

Twitter Ban: Buhari now more determined to tackle division, Garba Shehu says

The Buhari regime has been beset by sharp discontent across the nation with secessionist agitations growing in South-East and South-West.

• June 14, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari, Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho, and Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey
President Muhammadu Buhari, Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho, and Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu on Monday said President Muhammadu Buhari was now firmer in his determination to rid the country of “artificial divisions that are standing in the way of national cohesion and progress of the country.”

The Buhari regime has been beset by sharp discontent across the nation with secessionist agitations growing in South-East and South-West.

Pushed by the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB and Oodua Nation proponents, the agitations have largely been based on acclaimed injustices against sections of the country and blatant favouritism of the president’s region in the allocation of federal benefits. 

But Mr Shehu, speaking on a programme on state-run broadcaster, NTA, reckons that banned microblogging site, Twitter, is the regime’s nemesis, used for fuelling the spread of hate messages and threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“I think in the last few days, we are seeing a firmer determination by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle artificial divisions that are standing in the way of national cohesion and progress of the country,” Mr Shehu said.

“As I said, Twitter is one of them, but from the pronouncement of the president, in the interview he did on Arise TV and the one on NTA here, the speech he gave in Lagos and the broadcast he gave, I think they are suggestive of the fact that the growing heat in the country must not continue.”

Since the government announced the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria, scathing criticisms have trailed the decision locally and internationally. Many accused the president of violating the citizen’s freedom of expression and denying many of their source of livelihood.

Twitter, with over 30 million users in Nigeria, is not only a social interaction site but a platform through which Nigerians share their opinion on issues of national interest as well as promote social cohesion.

But giving a justification for the ban, Mr Shehu insisted that the decision was a right approach in ensuring that the “growing heat in the country” is discontinued. 

The presidential aide emphasised that the decision also portrays the current administration’s determination to combat issues that threaten peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Buhari regime has widely been criticised for flagrant abuse of human rights, worsening insecurity and economy, corruption, nepotism among others.

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