Nigerian filmmaker turned politician, Desmond Elliot, has learnt his voice against the Federal Government’s decision to ban Twitter operations in Nigeria.
On Friday the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, via a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Adeyemi, announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The statement read, “The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
“The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”
Early today, the Twitter ban took effect to the displeasure of many Nigerians especially celebrities who use the platform to communicate directly with their fans.
In a Twitter thread, Elliot, the lawmaker representing Surulere at the Lagos State House of Assembly called on the federal government to reverse the suspension stating that the ban, ‘no matter the reasons proffered tramples upon our fundamental rights as people.’
The legislator said, “I want to admonish our government to always remember that the people’s right to express themselves freely must not be compromised. This ban, no matter the reasons proffered tramples upon our fundamental rights as people.”
Elliot reminded the government that Nigerian youths trade their wares and advertise their businesses and services via the micro-blogging site.
He said, “In a democratic society like ours, we must weigh the economic and social impact of this ban on the populace — especially our teeming youths and entrepreneurs who depend solely on this platform to carry out their legitimate business.
“In the past, our government have shown the required goodwill to stand on side of the people even when it’s not too convenient for them to do so. I believe that this won’t be an exception. I want to appeal to the government to reconsider this ban in the interest of our people and our country at large.”
Meanwhile, the politician has come under fire several times on Twitter after some of his comments did not sit down well with Nigerian youths.
For instance, in October 2020, during the #EndSARS protest, Elliot was heavily criticized for allegedly supporting Anti-Social Media Bills in Nigeria; an allegation he earlier denied when the news first filtered in via social media.
However, in a viral video that still circulates all over the internet, he was seen criticizing social media users and influencers, emphasising that if the Nigerian state doesn’t stop social media, it will destroy the country.
His comments were not taken lightly by Nigerians on social media and thus the popular Nigerian pidgin slang, Na Desmond Elliot Cause Am, meaning It’s Desmond Elliot’s fault, was born. The slangs trends occasionally on the Nigerian Twitter space.