Nigeria’s telecommunications providers under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) have commented on the ban of social media app, Twitter, and the regulation of other social media applications as directed by the federal government.
The press statement released on Saturday, jointly signed by the Chairman and the Executive Secretary, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga, said that network providers had received formal instructions from the NCC to suspend access to Twitter.
The association said in line with “national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates, our members have acted in accordance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission.”
The statement adds that the body is committed to supporting the federal government and protecting the rights of citizens, despite the directive being a violation of section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, which protects the Nigerians freedom of expression.
ALTON also maintains that it aligns itself with the position of the UN which holds that the rights of people offline must also be protected online.
These human rights violations comes after Twitter deleted both the video and the tweets where President Muhammadu Buhari threatened South-East civilians with violence similar to that of the Civil War as a response to the attack on the electoral body’s facilities in the region.
The offending tweets were deleted from the platform after Nigerians reported en masse and Twitter found that it violated its rules.
From Friday evening, Nigerians have had to bypass the government-imposed lockdown on Twitter by making use of Virtual Private Networks, Peoples Gazette has provided an explainer on how it works here.