By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria has been condemned by the United States government, which described the action as a slap on democracy.
In a statement issued by the Department of State on Thursday, the directive to television and radio stations in the country to deactivate their Twitter accounts was also kicked against.
The American government said it was wrong for its Nigerian counterpart to restrict citizens from having access to information through any platform, noting that it was dangerous to democracy.
Last Friday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced that operations of Twitter in Nigeria have been suspended.
This followed the deletion of a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari from the platform for violating one of its rules.
“The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter. The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.
“Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy. Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.
“We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity. As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension,” the statement issued by the US government today said.