In 2019, Vice President Yemi Osinabajo said regulation of social media is not a wise decision in reactions to threats to censor dissidents in the country.
Nigeria’s information and culture minister Lai Mohammed had on Friday announced Twitter’s suspension in a statement by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi.
The suspension by the Nigerian government comes days after a post by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 1967 civil war was deleted by the microblogging platform.
The Nigerian government’s spokesman cited “the persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” as the reason for the suspension.
Osinbajo, who stated this in Abuja in 2019 during an inter-faith tolerance dialogue organised by the United Arab Emirates, explained that he did not subscribe to the regulation of social media by the government.
He called on religious leaders to go beyond talking about tolerance to making sacrifices that were required.
Osinbajo said, “As religious leaders and media personalities, also as people of faith in general, we share a common calling to apprehend the truth. We absolutely need to be careful in our use of social media. If we do not want to promote the kind of conflict that can go completely out of hand, we must be sure that we are policing and regulating ourselves, especially with social media.
“I don’t think that government regulation is necessarily the way to go, but I believe that we as persons of faith and we, as leaders, and those of us who use the social media actively owe a responsibility to our society and to everyone else, to ensure that we don’t allow it to become an instrument of conflict and instrument of war.”
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to lambast Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for keeping mute after the suspension of Twitter operations in the country two years after he spoke against the regulation of social media.