Access To Twitter Denied From Nigeria Cyberspace – BBC Reports

Users struggle to access site after government suspension.

Access to Twitter through Nigeria’s main phone providers has been blocked, according to reports from Lagos and the capital, Abuja.

It is still accessible on some wi-fi networks.

This comes after the government said it was suspending Twitter operations in the country “indefinitely”.

The ban was due to “the persistent use of the platform for activities… capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”, a statement said.

Twitter said Friday’s announcement from Information Minister Lai Mohammed was “deeply concerning”.

By Saturday morning, BBC reporters in Lagos and Abuja said they were unable to connect to Twitter through two of the countries largest phone networks: MTN and Airtel. Others have also been affected.

Access was still possible through some wi-fi providers, but this is not a common way to connect to the internet in Nigeria.

Search terms such as “VPN” were popular overnight, according to the search tracking site Trendsmap.

A VPN – or Virtual Private Network – connection makes it appear as if the user is accessing the internet from another country, and has been a way to get round similar bans in other countries.

Removal of Buhari tweet
The move by the government came just days after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari was removed for breaching the site’s rules, though no mention of this was made in its statement.

Mr Mohammed has previously criticised the US social media giant’s decision to take it down, calling it “double standards”.

The tweet sent by Mr Buhari on 1 June referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to treating “those misbehaving today” in “the language they will understand”.

A Twitter spokesperson said at the time that the post “was in violation of the Twitter Rules”.

And in a statement on Friday, the company – which in April announced its new African headquarters would be based in neighbouring Ghana – said it was “investigating and will provide updates when we know more” about the Nigerian ban.

The government gave no details on how the ban would work in practice, or any explanation of how Twitter had undermined Nigeria’s corporate existence.

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