Thursday, June 10, 2021
W.TEC’s Message on the #TwitterBan in Nigeria
The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) wish to express our sadness at the recent ban on the use of Twitter in Nigeria by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and our incredulity that as a result of one person’s deleted tweet, an entire nation has been denied access to the microblogging and social networking tool.
- According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the ICT sector grew by 14.70% in Q4 2020, making it the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy in that quarter. Sustained technological innovation happens best in environ- ments that encourage creativity and provide room for expression. This indiscriminate ban on Twitter does not show the country to be a welcoming space for innovation and doing business with ease.
- Close to 40 million Nigerians (20% of the population) use Twitter to access critically-needed information, advertise their businesses and find employment. The current unemployment rate is estimated to be 33% of the entire population; a significant proportion of which are women. Couple this with the ongoing pandemic, rising food prices, violent insurgency attacks and kidnappings, the restrictions created by the Twitter ban make for an even more dire socio-economic outlook for many Nigerians.
- The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (of which Nigeria is a signatory) states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Chapter IV Section 39(1) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended) states that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”
We believe that this Twitter ban is a clear abuse of Nigerian’s fundamental human rights as enshrined in these instruments and is antithetical to everything a democracy stands for.
W.TEC hereby advises the FGN to lift the ban on Twitter and address their issues according to the guidelines set-down by the platform. A continuous ban will leave everyone as losers and show the FGN as out-of-touch, authoritarian and not committed to the true ideals of democracy.
Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) is a civil society organisation working to raise the next generation of female technology creators, entrepreneurs and leaders. Our work centers on equipping young Nigerian women with the skills, knowledge and confidence to strategically leverage and contribute to the digital economy and we will continue to pursue the realisation of these goals.
Oreoluwa Lesi, Executive Director
The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC)