#TWITTERBAN: YRC CONDEMNS THE SUSPENSION OF TWITTER; IT IS AN ATTACK ON DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS.
FOR IMMEDIATE PROTESTS TO DEMAND REVERSAL OF THE SUSPENSION, RELEASE OF ALL POLITICAL DETAINEES, REJECTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA BILL AND OTHER MEASURES AIMED AT CURTAILING CIVIL LIBERTIES
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) strongly condemns the recent suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. This declaration of suspension is dictatorial and a direct attack on the democratic rights of Nigerians to freely express themselves.
We hereby call on the Federal Government to reverse this suspension immediately. At the same time, we call for a halt to all attacks on democratic rights including reversal of the Social Media Bill and indeed all measures aimed at curtailing civil liberties. We also demand the unconditional release of all political detainees. This include Omoyele Sowore, the Kogi 2 and a host of other Nigerians including activists, journalists, bloggers, social media users and professionals who are being falsely accused and tried on trumped up charges in order to stifle free speech.
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) also calls for a mass protest of the working class, youth, and the masses to reject the suspension of Twitter and to demand a halt to all attacks on democratic rights. This is needed to begin to build a mass movement that can defeat the tyrannical regime that is hell-bent on taking us down the path of dictatorship.
The right to freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and a ban on popular social media platforms shows the government is nothing but a dictatorship. This suspension, if implemented, will place Nigeria side by side with countries like North Korea, Uganda, China, etc., where similar attacks on free speech have taken place.
For us, the excuse given for this suspension is ridiculous and untenable.
In the recent period, Twitter has emerged as a social media platform where the youth and working masses discuss, organize and fight against anti-people policies. The peak of it was the #EndSARS protest last year which threatened the capitalist ruling class and the Buhari Government; little wonder the protest was quickly drowned in blood by the government. Afterward, sure that it has no social base, the government embarked on undemocratic measures to ensure that all of its pro-capitalist and anti-poor policies go unchallenged. This is the real motivation behind the ban on Twitter.
However while we oppose the suspension of Twitter as an attack on free speech, we however must stress that the concentration of the power of social communication and regulation, including the profiles and information of billions of the world population, in the hands of elite corporations like Twitter and Facebook is also potentially undemocratic and can be used against the mass movement of the working people and youth. In the US and elsewhere around the world, public enquiries have taken place which have shown the wrong use of this enormous power which the corporations wield. This shows that while opposing any measure to curtail social media as an attack on free speech, there is the need to also demand democratic control and management of the working people over the activities of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms and means of communications and sharing of data.
No doubt, this recent action of the Buhari regime shows how fast the government is accumulating dictatorial powers. However, a society where the means of production and distribution are in the hands of a few minorities is inherently undemocratic. This is why the ruling class can activate or suspend democratic measures at will.
Our struggle against the dictatorship of the APC/Buhari capitalist Government must also be used to fight for a system change. To rid Nigeria of all socioeconomic crises, we need a socialist transformation which will mean that our resources are democratically owned and managed by the working masses and used to end poverty and misery. The YRC holds that there are enough resources to ensure a better life for every Nigerian but what is making this impossible is the capitalist arrangement which places wealth and power in the hands of a tiny minority that will always need undemocratic measures, like the suspension of Twitter, attack on protesters, etc., to sustain their dominance.