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Undeterred by the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria, Nigerian News Agencies – the primary news content provider for Nigeria’s newspapers, electronic media and bloggers have continued sharing their news and commentaries on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.
But, Channels Television – a Nigerian independent 24-hour news and media television channel based in Lagos, Nigeria. The parent company, Channels Incorporated, suspended tweeting. The Privately owned TV Station is one of the stations that has come under sanctions by the Muhammadu Buhari’s Government – The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had directed Channels TV and Inspiration FM Lagos to pay a fine N5 million each for infractions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code only recently.
Channels TV is one of the broadcast stations accused by the NBC of promoting secessionist, divisive, violent and inflammatory comments. The Twitter ban which took effect on early Saturday morning, was triggered after the micro-blogging site deleted a controversial tweet by the President Muhammadu Buhari, that referenced the Biafran war of 1967-1970 which led to loss of millions of lives.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War,” he tweeted, announcing the ban on Friday, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed alleged that the social media platform was undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Hours later, telecommunications companies in Nigeria, including MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9Mobile, started blocking access to Twitter, with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria saying it had received a directive from the NCC to block access to the social networking site.
Despite the ban taking effect with the implementation service providers on Saturday, Nigerian media agencies like the majority of Nigerians have continued business as usual and have been disseminating the news via the platform.
Agencies like TheCable, Premium Times, Daily Trust, Punch, have continued tweeting while Channels Television have complied with the ban and have suspended tweeting to their millions of followers.
Checks by NewsWireNGR, Sunday, revealed that their last set of tweets were in the early hours of Saturday. The media house last tweeted Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State displeasure with the ban and in the other, and they also tweeted that the First Lady, Aisha Buhari deactivating her account.
No media house has released an editorial stand on the ban but their continuous use of the platform is a silent protest of the dictatorial directive of the Federal Government. The U.S., Canada, the European Union, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland issued in a joint statement Saturday condemning Nigeria’s government for banning Twitter.
In the meantime, the suspension of Twitter may have affected the operations of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which usually updates the country’s daily statistics of the pandemic on its official Twitter handle.
In compliance with the directive, the health agency did not upload the COVID-19 statistics on its handle on Saturday but instead did so on website.