Telecommunications companies in Nigeria including MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9Mobile have started blocking access to the microblogging site, Twitter, PUNCH has learnt.
The telcos said they received a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission to block access to Twitter in the country following the suspension by the Federal Government on Friday.
The Nigerian Twitterati woke up on Saturday encountering difficulty in accessing their Twitter handles while some navigated the hurdle using virtual private networks.
Mobile network operators in the country under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, however, made it clear that they have started blocking access to Twitter in a statement issued on Saturday.
The statement which was obtained by PUNCH was titled, ‘Order to Suspend access to Twitter’. It was jointly signed by ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo; and ALTON Executive Secretary, Gbolahan Awonuga.
It read, “We, The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria wish to confirm that our members have received formal instructions from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the industry regulator to suspend access to Twitter.
“ALTON has conducted a robust assessment of the directive in accordance with internationally accepted principles.
“Based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates; our members have acted in compliance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the industry regulator.
“We will continue to engage all the relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC. We remain committed to supporting the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and upholding the rights of citizens.
“As an industry, we endorse the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online. This includes respecting and protecting the rights of all people to communicate, to share information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security regarding their data and their use of digital communications.”
Aside from MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9Mobile, some of the Internet Service Providers in Nigeria include Spectranet, ipNX Nigeria Limited, Swift Networks Ltd., Vezeti Service LTD, Cyberspace Network Limited, Mobitel Limited, Smile Nigeria, ITClick Solutions Limited, and Netcom Africa.
PUNCH had earlier reported that Twitter deleted a post by the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday.
Consequently, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who had accused Twitter of double standards, announced the suspension of the microblogging site on Friday, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Nigeria had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista. According to Statista, about 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.
Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen
A woman journalist, Mrs. Norah Okafor, has alerted authorities to the invasion of her home in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, by over 25 masked operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The incident, she said, took place on Thursday between 1:36 a.m and 2 a.m.
“At exactly 1:36 a.m, I was alerted by my brother that there were armed robbers at my gate trying to make their way into the compound. Because it was an electric fence, I didn’t bother enough because I felt they could not make their way in. Alas, I was wrong. At 2 a.m prompt, they entered the compound, and they came prepared. There were over 25 of them in two Hilux buses. They were masked and dressed in all-black attire.
A huge member of the team climbed the fence with a pair of pliers and immediately cut off parts of the wires. He jumped into the compound and, with an axe, broke the gate key open to enable the team enter my apartment.
“As a nude sleeper, while they tried to make their way into the compound, I found something to wear while my brothers and I were thinking of a way of escape. The worst case scenario for me was that they would rape or take the only valuable available (a car key).
So, I prepared my mind. The next thing I realised was that about seven of them were in my room with shouts of ‘Lie down, face down; (switch) on the light. Where’s your phone? Where’s your car key?’ They asked for so many things and I became confused. Seeing over 25 hefty men with different kinds of guns, mhen, e don be, be that (It had finally happened, I presumed).
“I handed the phone over to them with the key. Before then, they had taken my laptop. I turned to be sure if they were armed robbers.
They asked for my passwords to all the devices collected with masking tape to identify each. Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers. I was still asking myself: what’s happening?
“They asked me to stand and follow them downstairs. Lo and beyond, they unmasked themselves. Hmmmm! Are these criminals? I asked. All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I was.
They had given my brothers the beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound. And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of them walked in. Behold, they were from EFCC.
“What?” I screamed.
“Shut up” was the next thing I heard.
“When they couldn’t open my phone, they asked me to, and I did. After a while, I asked them: ‘Please, where is your office so I can come and pick up my things on my way to work?’ They asked me what I do and I said I’m a journalist. They asked my neighbour and he said ‘lawyer’; the other one a ‘doctor’.
“They looked at me, handed over the phones and said: ‘We just wasted our time.’
“Those fools spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now. “Is this how EFCC operates? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now. Thank God, my mum isn’t here…”
Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today
While two of the groups are protesting against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the third group will demonstrate in support of the ex-military leader.
One of the groups comprising Yoruba Nation and Biafra agitators, Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Prof Banji Akintoye.
Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.
PUNCH gathered that the last group would be holding a pro-Buhari protest tagged, ‘One Nigeria March.’
Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ was to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”
He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.
The renowned historian accused the Federal Government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”
Akintoye, in a statement on Thursday by NINAS Director of Public Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, said, “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.
“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.
“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”
TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.
He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.
“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.
“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt.
It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”
EvaluatePR Hosts Industry Talk With Communication Experts Today
Communications experts to dissect industry challenges at the 18th edition of EvaluatePR.
Nigeria’s foremost media intelligence agency, P+ Measurement Services is set to host its quarterly edition of EvaluatePR as it welcomes all communications professionals around the globe to the 18th edition of this event.
EvaluatePR is an informative event that will be honoured by communications and media monitoring professionals, who will be sharing their experiences, advice, insights, and quotes on Media Measurement, Monitoring, and Evaluation during the interactive session.
This edition will feature public relations and measurement practitioners which includes: Francois Van Dyk, Head of Operations, Ornico Group, Johannesburg, South Africa and Samuel O. Adeyemi, Lead Strategist, Media DNA, Nigeria, who together will share from their wealth of knowledge, experiences and insights to the theme of the event.
The 18th Edition of EvaluatePR, is scheduled to take place on Friday, 24th September 2021, with the theme “Media Monitoring & Measurement: An Essential Tool in Public Relations” between the hours of 12pm and 1pm (West African Time) on the Google Meet platform.
To be a part of the conversation, kindly join using the Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/qty-nbnk-emf
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