#TwitterBan: FG Reportedly Threatens To Suspend Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Others
According to SaharaReporters, Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed stated this before House of Representatives Joint Committee on Information, Justice, and Communication on Tuesday at the National Assembly in Abuja while answering questions on the ban on Twitter, a microblogging site.
He said Twitter made its platform available as a choice for people who want to destabilise and cause disunity in Nigeria.
When asked if any channel of dialogue had been opened with Twitter, the minister said;
We tried to but they rebuffed us. They are not known to us. They are not registered, but we hope we will be able to engage them.
However, after the hearing, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the creation of a ministerial team to dialogue with Twitter over the ban of the microblogging site.
The six-man committee include Lai Mohammed, who is the chairman, Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing; Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation; Isa Pantami (Communication and Digital Economy), Chris Ngige (Labour), and Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs).
During the hearing, the information minister also lamented that the organisation had no investment in Nigeria, but in Ghana, while the target market was Nigeria.
Mohammed also denied the widely held opinion that the move was intended to stifle free speech and press freedom.
There was no intention of the federal government to stifle free speech in the country. The only reason we suspended Twitter is that it was promoting disunity. Its activities are inimical to the unity of the country.
The information minister, however, noted that the government would not hesitate to suspend other social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and others if they are found to be promoting posts or statements capable of destabilising the country.
Reacting, some of the committee members expressed concern at the decision and action of the executive to suspend Twitter, stating that the country was sliding into totalitarianism.