African Youth Forum International, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), African Youth Forum International has joined the plea urging the Nigerian government to lift the ban it placed on Twitter use in the country.
The youth forum made the plea in a press release signed by its International President, James Asamoah-Darko, and Secretary General, Prof Maurice Fangnon.
In the release, the forum argued that a lot of Twitter users in the country had been groaning since the ban, having been disconnected from what it described as the widest and robust information network in the world.
It argued that the fact that Twitter deleted posts from President Muhammadu Buhari, was normal website managing precaution and should not be used as excuse to punish Nigerian information-seekers.
“Site owners are the owners of the intellectual property and reserve the right to add or delete the content of their sites. They are also ultimately accountable for the information in the site even though users are made to accept liability in some instances
“Determining what constitute a harmful content is at the discretion of the site owners which is usually predetermined”, the forum argued.
According to it, information from government sources claiming that Twitter promoted violence during END-SARS protest was not entirely true since they merely allowed users to circulate information on real events, facts and incidences that actually took place during the protest.
African Youth Forum International said neither Twitter owners nor its staff promoted any violence or circulated any information suggestive of instigation of violence.
“In view of the above, we wish to urge Nigeria government to reconsider its position on blocking Twitter in Nigeria officially as it is detrimental to the well-being of global, Africa and Nigeria communities”
In addition to running contrary to the ideals of freedom of information, press freedom, freedom of association and intellectual property rights of individuals, the forum said the ban also contravened rights to personal liberty and to pursue a legitimate means of livelihood.
It cited 2019 when Nigeria blocked its land borders, saying this greatly hampered business activities in West Africa sub-region in contravention of ECOWAS protocol and proposed African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Africa, it said was yet to fully recover from the agonies of such a policy, and that the Twitter ban was coming as one anti-government policy too many.
“African Youth Forum International, the African peoples Grassroots Forum for Young Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Researchers is united in our stand in the promotion of internal freedom and good governance based on civil liberty, free market economy, respect and enforcement of fundamental human rights of persons. What affects one affects us all”, the forum added.