Minister of Information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has alleged that microblogging site, Twitter, funded the #EndSARS protests that took place across the country in October 2020.
Speaking on the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter’s operations in the country on Wednesday, the minister said the ban on the social media platform in Nigeria does not stifle the citizens’ freedom of expression.
Mohammed said Nigerians still have the options of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Referring to a fact-check by TheCable, he maintained that Twitter played a prominent role in the destruction that took place after the #EndSARS protests were hijacked, and as such, must be sanctioned.
He said: “I want to repeat that it is because Twitter has consistently made its platform available to those who are threatening Nigeria’s corporate existence, that is the reason for suspending their operations in Nigeria.
“For those that have heard that the ban is not effective, to the best of my knowledge, I think the ban is very effective. Many commentators have said suspending the operations of Twitter is like stifling freedom of expression. And I said ‘NO.’ Twitter is just one of the many platforms through which Nigerians can express themselves. There is Facebook; there is Instagram; there’s WhatsApp; there’s Google Hangout, and others. They have not been suspended.
“When I addressed you on Wednesday, I said, among other things that Twitter’s mission in Nigeria is suspect. And I went further to say ‘YES,’ that Twitter funded the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria last year. And people have challenged it. And I’m glad that TheCable has done some fact finding and their conclusions are as follows: they said the truth is that, fact checking showed that indeed, Twitter played a prominent role in helping to raise funds for the #EndSARS protesters.
“Whether they paid directly, helped to pay, or helped to raise funds, it’s a matter of semantics. So, whether he donated money himself or helped to raise money, the Twitter owner is one of those who helped to fund the #EndSARS protests that was later hijacked, leading to loss of lives and massive destruction of property.
“Like I said last Wednesday, you can see from the fact check the role of Jack Dorsey is suspect. His interest in Nigeria is inimical to our growth. Our decision to suspend Twitter has been lauded by some, it has been decried by some. But we want to make it clear that what is important to us is the sovereignty of Nigeria.”
The minister maintained that Twitter must register its presence in the country and must be regulated by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).