Nigerians violating Twitter ban rules could be prosecuted News from Nigeria

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The chief legal officer orders the prosecution of anyone who refuses to follow the government bloc on the social network.

Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami has ordered the immediate prosecution of those trying to circumvent the government’s ban on Twitter after all mobile operators in the country were ordered to suspend access to the social media giant.

There were no further details on the indictment and who the target would be, but many Nigerians turned to social media to criticize Saturday’s announcement.

Earlier in the day, Nigerian telecom operators said they had complied with a government directive to suspend access to Twitter, two days after the social network deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account for breaching its rules.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) confirmed that its members received formal instructions from the government regulator to suspend access.

ALTON members are responsible for the mobile networks that most Nigerians use to access Twitter.

Twitter can be accessed through relatively more expensive fixed broadband, which very few Nigerians use. It is not clear if
access to this route will also be blocked. Some users in Nigeria were able to circumvent the ban by using a virtual private network (VPN).

Nigeria’s information ministry announced on Friday that the government was “indefinitely” suspending Twitter operations. He did not mention Buhari’s deleted tweet, but said the platform was suspended “for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

Twitter said it had taken action because the tweet violated the site’s rules against abusive behavior. The American tech giant also suspended the bill for 12 hours.

“The announcement by the Nigerian government that it has suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria is deeply worrying,” the company said in a statement.

“We are researching and will provide updates when we know more.”

The news provoked an immediate reaction among social media users as well as among human rights activists.

Many groups, including the Nigerian Bar Association, have threatened legal action if the government does not overturn the decision to suspend Twitter.





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