Published by Agence France-Presse on 10th June 2021
Nigeria’s media and activists fear their country is slipping into repression after the government suspended Twitter in Africa’s most populous nation, where hyper-connected youth embraced the platform as a means of protest.
The decision on Friday, days after Twitter deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari, has already provoked international outcry over freedom of expression and calls for protests online and on the street.
“It is very important we push back and fast, because they could go further,” said a social media executive at a major TV station who asked to remain anonymous.
More than 120 million Nigerians have access to the internet, and nearly 40 million of them have a Twitter account — 20 per cent of the population, according to Lagos-based researcher NOI Polls.
Studies also show that more than other social media platforms, Nigerians “use Twitter to give voice to the voiceless and engage government on issues that they feel are going wrong in the country in real time”, according to NOI Polls.