The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has condemned the stands of the US and UK governments as well as the European Union (EU) on the decision by the federal government to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria.
It will be recalled that after the federal government last Friday announced the Twitter suspension, the US, UK, and EU envoys told the government to reverse the ban as it is an infringement on the fundamental human rights of the citizens.
However, making his views known on Friday, 11th June when he appeared on an NTA interview programme, ‘Good Morning Nigeria’, the Minister slammed the foreign countries, noting that they have no genuine interest in the welfare of Nigeria as a country but are only after the economic interests of their own nation.
Describing them as hypocrites, Mohammed said both the EU and the UK were already working on regulating social media in their respective countries but accuse the Nigerian government of suppressing free speech.
Mohammed added that if Twitter can allow IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu to use the word ‘zoo’ to describe Nigeria on its platform without taking it down despite several complaints by the government, then the social media platform is not been fair in its dealings.
He said, “The EU has recommended the same thing and Britain only on Wednesday spoke about a law that would regulate the social media. This is why I say they are being hypocritical. Like I said, I don’t like commenting on issues that have to do with relations with Nigeria and other countries but clearly speaking, they are being less than honest.”
“We have seen so many foreign missions come up to condemn the action of Nigeria. Nigerians, please, make a distinction between countries that are trying to protect their economic and commercial interests from those countries that genuinely love you and talking about freedom of speech and don’t forget for one minute that it is because there is a country called Nigeria that there is freedom of speech.”
The minister added that the federal government didn’t suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria for deleting a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, explaining further that the nation is not losing revenue due to the Twitter ban because the platform doesn’t pay taxes to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, social media giant, Twitter, has informed the Nigerian government of its readiness to negotiate with the Nigerian government over the suspension placed on its micro-blogging platform.
Twitter took to its platform on Friday, saying, “Today marks one week since Twitter was blocked in Nigeria. We have informed the Nigerian government that we are ready to meet for an open discussion to address mutual concerns and see the service restored. We remain advocates for the free and #OpenInternet everywhere. #KeepitOn.”