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World Can you be arrested for tweeting in Nigeria?

01:16  09 june  2021
01:16  09 june  2021 Source:   bbc.com

Scores of children abducted from Islamic seminary in Nigeria: authorities

  Scores of children abducted from Islamic seminary in Nigeria: authorities Gunmen on Sunday kidnapped scores of children from an Islamic seminary in central Nigeria's Niger state, police and residents said. Some 200 children were at the school at the time of the attack, the Niger state government said on Twitter, adding that "an unconfirmed number" were taken. The abduction came a day after 14 students from a university in northwestern Nigeria were freed after 40 days in captivity. Niger state police spokesman Wasiu Abiodun said the attackers arrived on motorbikes in Tegina town and started shooting indiscriminately, killing one resident and injuring another, before kidnapping the children from the Salihu Tanko Islamic school.

Many Nigerians have been continuing to tweet in defiance of government threats to arrest and prosecute anyone violating the ban it imposed on Twitter.

a person wearing a hat and glasses: The row started when Twitter deleted a tweet by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari © Getty Images The row started when Twitter deleted a tweet by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

They are using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to bypass the ban after telecommunications companies heeded the government's directive and blocked the micro-blogging site.

Gbenga Sesan of the Paradigm Initiative, which offers digital opportunities to young people across Africa, said the government's ban had backfired.

"Guess what? The only people who have been muted right now appear to be the government themselves. Yes, some businesses are not tweeting because clearly they do not want to be punished, but the citizens they were trying to proscribe are still tweeting," he told the BBC.

Twitter removes Nigeria president 'civil war' remark

  Twitter removes Nigeria president 'civil war' remark Twitter on Wednesday deleted a remark on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's account for violating its rules, after he referred to the country's civil war in the context of recent unrest. Buhari, a former general, made a statement on Tuesday referring to recent violence in the southeast, where officials have blamed separatists for attacks on police and election offices. Half a century ago, one million people died during a 30-month civil war after separatist generals declared an independent region for the Igbo people in Nigeria's southeast.

The ban was announced on Friday after the government alleged that the micro-blogging site was being used to undermine "Nigeria's corporate existence" through the spreading of fake news that have "violent consequences".

It drew an angry reaction from many Nigerians and Western powers who saw it as a threat to civil liberties, but the government was unrepentant, leaving Twitter officially blocked in Africa's most populous state.

So can you be arrested for tweeting in Nigeria?

Some legal experts say they are unaware of any law which makes it illegal to tweet, but others say police can arrest alleged violators because of the sweeping powers given to them under national security legislation.

Security personnel in Nigeria have been known to zealously enforce government orders even when there is no legal clarity, as in this case.

Nigeria 'indefinitely' suspends Twitter

  Nigeria 'indefinitely' suspends Twitter Nigeria's government said on Friday it was suspending Twitter's operations indefinitely, two days after the social media giant deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari's account for violating its rules. Twitter was still working in Africa's most populous country soon after Friday's statement, which triggered immediate criticism from rights groups and analysts about freedom of expression. Nigeria's information ministry said Twitter was "suspended, indefinitely," because of "persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence" Twitter was still working in Africa's most populous

a group of people standing in a parking lot: Police in Nigeria have been repeatedly accused of being heavy-handed © Getty Images Police in Nigeria have been repeatedly accused of being heavy-handed

For his part, Nigeria's Attorney General Abubakar Malami has been coy, saying people will know what offence they have committed only when they are arraigned in court.

The government has not spoken of any arrests, but there are unconfirmed reports of people being stopped and their phones searched for the Twitter app in some parts of Nigeria.

Normally, Twitter is the main platform to break news of arrests, and to rally public support against security force action.

Now there are fears that people could be detained without anyone knowing. To make things worse, the courts have been crippled by a workers' strike so people may languish in police cells for a long time.

The strike also makes it difficult for the Nigeria Bar Association - the body representing the legal profession - to go to court in a bid to reverse the ban.

Nigeria: the government announces Twitter "For an indefinite period"

 Nigeria: the government announces Twitter The social network had removed a Tweet of President Nigerian, Muhammadu Buhari, in which he threatened independentist activists © Bayo Omoborowo / AP / SIPA the President of the Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari.

It has described the ban as lacking legal basis, and aimed at depriving Nigerians of their right to freedom of expression.

Are prominent people defying the ban?

Yes, especially in the opposition - such as Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde, who belongs to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and has been a vocal critic of the ban.

However, Kaduna state governor and President Buhari's right-hand man, Nasir El-Rufai on Monday retweeted a Russian publication that praised Nigeria's suspension of Twitter.

Reputable Nigerian newspapers like The Punch, Daily Trust and The Guardian, all of which have online versions, have also continued to tweet.

This is probably because the internet is not regulated in Nigeria so the newspapers have no government agency watching over them.

The government has been accused of curbing media freedom © Getty Images The government has been accused of curbing media freedom

In contrast, radio and television stations have a regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission, which warned them that failure to deactivate their Twitter accounts would be viewed as an unpatriotic act.

US, EU condemn Nigeria's Twitter ban

  US, EU condemn Nigeria's Twitter ban The US and the European Union voiced concern over Nigeria's decision to indefinitely ban Twitter after the US social media giant deleted a tweet from the president's account for violating its rules. International human rights groups have also condemned the move, which followed previous attempts by the government of Africa's most populous country to regulate social media. Nigerian telecoms operators complied with a government directive Friday to suspend access to Twitter indefinitely.The diplomatic missions of the EU, US, Britain, Canada and Ireland issued a joint statement late Saturday condemning the ban.

It also says that journalists should not use Twitter to gather information.

Some leading radio stations like Radio Now FM in Lagos and Daar Communications are complying with the directive, but say they will challenge it.

The ban has also affected the BBC which has dozens of journalists in Nigeria.

"BBC journalists in Nigeria are continuing to reach audiences on Twitter with news stories published via the BBC Africa and BBC World Twitter accounts," the UK-headquartered broadcaster said in a statement.

Many pastors of Nigeria's mega-churches - like The Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Deeper Life Bible Church - have also been tweeting, though it is unclear whether they are doing it from Nigeria or from their offices abroad.

"The Redeemed Christian Church of God is domiciled in more than 170 Nations & Territories. The tweets here are in accordance to Article 19 of the UN universal declaration of Human Rights," the church's head Pastor Enoch Adeboye said in a pinned tweet on Monday.

When asked by the BBC whether the pastors would be prosecuted for defying the ban, Nigeria's Information Minister Lai Mohammed said: "The attorney general has made it clear that if anybody violates the regulation, that such a person will be prosecuted. It is in the realm of the attorney general to decide who or who not to prosecute."

Nigeria. Eleven people killed in an attack in southwestern

 Nigeria. Eleven people killed in an attack in southwestern © Kola Sulaimon / AFP Interethnic tensions in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and where there are more than 250 ethnic and linguistic groups, are not uncommon. Eleven people were killed Saturday in the attack of a southwestern Nigeria, in the state of Oyo. Police patrols have been deployed in the region to "prevent any additional disaggregation of public order".

As for private Nigeria-based businesses, most of them - including banks - have stopped tweeting.

Quickteller, an online payments platform, has sent an email to customers saying it was temporarily suspending its activities on their Twitter handles and referred them to other social media platforms.

What has been the impact of the ban?

NetBlocks, a global internet monitor, says Nigeria is losing about $250,000 (£176,000) each hour the ban is in place and analysts say this ban may further weaken the economy and increase the already high unemployment levels for young people.

Twitter is popular with many Nigerians, the platform has been used to raise funds for the sick, summon ambulances, help locate missing people and has been a source of livelihood for many of the country's young people.

It has also been a powerful mobilising tool, with activists using it to rally support during last year's protests against police brutality under the hashtag #EndSars, which gained global attention and were backed by superstars such as Rihanna, Kanye West and boxer Anthony Joshua.

Why was the ban imposed?

Those #EndSARS protests certainly did not endear Twitter to the Nigerian authorities.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey encouraged donations to one of the leading group of protests organisers and a special emoji created for the demonstrations went viral.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: The hashtag #EndSARS was used during protests against police brutality © Getty Images The hashtag #EndSARS was used during protests against police brutality

The government has also accused the micro-blogging site of supporting a movement fighting for an independent state of Biafra to be created in the south-east of Nigeria.

Last week, President Buhari tweeted about the instability in the south-east. He referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to treating "those misbehaving today" in "the language they will understand".

After the president faced a massive backlash from users for making such comments, Twitter deleted the tweet, accusing the president of violating its rules.

The government was furious and accused Twitter of double standards by ignoring tweets by Nnamdi Kanu, the exiled leader of the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group, which it said encouraged the killing of police personnel.

Those tweets - which the government said encouraged the killing of police - have since been deleted by Twitter.

Both sides now say they are in discussions to resolve the dispute in what is a key market for Twitter in Africa.

Donald Trump hails Nigeria Twitter ban .
The former US president urges other countries to restrict use of social media platforms."Who are they to dictate good and evil, if they themselves are evil?" Mr Trump said in a statement.

usr: 0
This is interesting!