Onyeama Denies Giving Conditions for Lifting Twitter Suspension
By Dipo Olowookere
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has denied media reports quoting him as giving conditions for lifting the embargo placed on the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
On Monday, Mr Onyeama held talks with some envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union.
These diplomats were summoned after they issued a joint statement over the weekend to condemn the ban of Twitter in the country by the federal government.
This suspension followed the deletion of a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari last week by Twitter for comments believed to be disparaging the Igbos.
In retaliation, the federal government suspended operations of the company in Nigeria, threatening to prosecute anyone found using the platform in the country.
After his meeting with the ambassadors today, the Minister was quoted as saying that the ban can only be lifted if the micro-blogging can begin to act responsibly.
But a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Ferdinard Nwonye, said the Minister was misquoted by the media.
“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to misleading reports by several media outlets published today, June 7, 2021, in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was misquoted as giving conditions for lifting the Twitter suspension.
“The Minister, after a meeting with some Heads of Diplomatic Missions resident in Nigeria, was quoted to have said that Twitter’s operations in Nigeria will be restored only if the platform can be used responsibly.
“This statement by the Minister has been quoted out of context.
“Contrary to the publications, the Minister was speaking about the responsibilities that go with freedom of speech, stating that platforms that have the power to instantly disseminate information among billions of people have the added responsibility to exercise that power responsibly.
“The ministry wishes to state categorically that the Minister did not give any conditions regarding lifting the Twitter suspension,” the statement said.