Nigerian telecoms companies on Saturday blocked access to Twitter following a regulatory directive seeking to suspend the U.S. social media platform indefinitely, a move slammed by diplomats and rights campaigners as an attempt to silence the free speech.
On Friday, Nigeria’s cabinet announced that it had suspended Twitter’s activities indefinitely, 2 days after the social media giant removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists in the West African country.
Nigeria’s main telecoms industry body, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), confirmed the suspension.
ALTON said: “Based on national interest provisions … our members have acted in compliance with the directives of the Nigerian Communications Commission.”
The cabinet had acted because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Friday.
Twitter, which could not immediately be reached to comment on Saturday, said a day earlier it was probing its “deeply concerning” suspension by the Nigerian government.