The presidency says the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria has reduced the spread of fake news by governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Nigeria’s information and culture minister Lai Mohammed had on June 4 announced Twitter’s suspension in a statement by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi.
The suspension by the Nigerian government comes days after a post by President Buhari on the 1967 civil war was deleted by the microblogging platform.
The Nigerian government’s spokesman cited “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” as the reason for the suspension.
Reacting to the development, the PDP governors’ forum, in a communique on Monday, tackled President Muhammadu Buhari's administration over its action.
“The mere ego of Mr. President is not enough for such a drastic action that deprives millions of Nigerians of such an affordable means of expression and communication. We hope that this is not a harbinger or early warning signs of descent into dictatorship,” the PDP governors had said.
Responding in a statement on Wednesday, Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman said the PDP governors are sad over Twitter’s suspension because it has affected the opposition party’s ability to spread fake news.
“The PDP grieves over the Federal Government’s action over Twitter – for it represents the curtailment of their ability to use the platform to spread fake news and invented stories to the detriment of community and good-neighbourliness between the peoples of Nigeria,” Shehu said.
“The PDP governors propose no solutions to any of our nation’s challenges in the face of COVID and global economic downturn: instead, they grasp for more money and mourn their lack of access to social media to spread falsehoods and hate.
“Their statement is evidence, if any were needed, as to why the President and the APC ended the PDP’s one-party rule in 2015, were re-elected by an increased margin in 2019, and why their winning trend is set to continue far into the future.”
The Presidency also accused PDP governors of refusing to support its initiative to end the farmer-herder crisis in the country.
“When the governors claim a lack of federal institutions’ money pouring into their states’ coffers is an affront to democracy, constitutionalism and federalism, they fail to mention the ugliest trend against the integrity of Nigeria with their refusal to support the Federal Government’s earnest desire to reinstate local government as the third tier and finding a lasting solution to farmer-herder conflicts costing the nation lives and livestock.”
It added that the PDP governors' communique, “was a spectacular demonstration to the people of Nigeria as to why the party and its representatives should not be entrusted with the national leadership of the country any time soon.”
The Presidency also stated that the suggestion by the PDP governors for the CBN to stop further devaluation of the naira would have negative consequences on exports, oil revenues, small businesses and employment.
Speaking on call for states to be allowed to be involved in mining, the Presidency states: “The question must be asked: ‘Why has this taken you so long?’ Such opportunities and states’ powers have been fully available since independence – yet only now PDP realises it?"