The Federal Government yesterday renewed its battle with Twitter. It accused the micro blogging platform of double standards in its reaction to the 2020 #EndSARS protest in Nigeria and the ongoing truckers’ protests in Canada.
The tuckers in Canadian capital, Ottawa, are protesting the stringent COVID-19 restrictions by the government.
The protest has crippled the international trade between Canada and the United States.
The Canadian government has employed hardline tactics to end it.
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Lai Mohammed said: “Recall that during the #EndSARS protest, which culminated in the blockage of public roads and massive destruction of government and private properties, Canada was one of the countries that spoke out in support of the protesters.
“Recall also that Twitter actively supported the EndSars protesters and even helped them to raise funds while GoFundMe was used to raise funds for the protests.”
He added: “The entities are now rushing to distance themselves from the protesters in Canada and even denying them the use of their platforms.
“This is similar to what played out during the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the United States (U.S.) Capitol in Washington, D.C. where those involved are either still being investigated or have been charged to court. I don’t blame them. Nobody wants their country destroyed under the guise of protests.
“Don’t misunderstand this intervention. We are not gloating over the unfortunate development in Canada.
“But we are only calling attention to the double standards involved in the way protesters deemed to be violent are perceived in Nigeria and the West.
“Those who referred to the hoodlums who destroyed public and private property in Nigeria under the guise of #EndSARS as peaceful protesters have tagged similar protesters in their own countries as insurrectionists and terrorists.
“This glaring double standard should not be lost on all Nigerians. We have always said that you must have a country before you can even enjoy the freedom guaranteed by your country’s constitution.
“If there is no Nigeria, no one will be talking of freedom of expression or freedom of association and the like.
“This realisation explains why every country goes the extra mile to protect and preserve itself. And this also explains why we have continued to insist on the regulation of social media to ensure responsible content.
“In this area, I can confidently say we are far ahead of most countries in the world, which have now realised that social media must be regulated in the interest of their own people.
“In this regard, our successful negotiation with Twitter to fashion out measures to ensure responsible use of that platform which, by the way, will also apply to other social media platforms, has made us a global trailblazer in efforts to prevent harmful content from social media platforms.
“We must not allow anyone to destroy our country under the guise of protest or unbridled freedoms. We all must put Nigeria first at all times.”
After the #EndSARS protest, the Federal Government suspended Twitter’s operation in Nigeria. This was only restored after Twitter activities were streamlined in the country.