UNBANNING OF TWITTER IS A GIMMICK BY THE FAILED BUHARI APC REGIME TO REFURBISH ITS TYRANNICAL IMAGE AHEAD OF THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS
YRC Calls for Release of all Political Detainees including over 200 EndSARS Protesters still in Detention
For Full Implementation of the Recommendations of the Lagos State EndSARS Panel and other Panels across the Country including Payment of Compensation to Victims of Lekki Shooting
After over seven months of criminally denying Nigerians access to Twitter, the regime has finally unbanned access to the social media platform. For us in the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) this is nothing to be joyous about as it does not indicate that the Buhari regime has shed off its skin of autocracy and repression. Rather the reversal of this unpopular ban is, on one hand, another gimmick by the failed Buhari led All Progressive Congress (APC) regime to refurbish its tyrannical image ahead of the 2023 general elections and, on another hand, a concession to the overwhelming opposition to the ban by vast majority of Nigerians especially the youth. Therefore, the youth and working people should even be more determined in the coming period to continue the struggle against the undemocratic and anti-poor policies of the tyrannical Buhari government.
While Twitter is now unbanned, over 200 young people arrested during the EndSARS protests over one year ago are still in detention. This is aside many political detainees including journalists, bloggers and owners of social media accounts who have either disappeared, being incarcerated or under trial in different parts of the country for simply exercising their democratic rights to freedom of expression. Aside this, the report and recommendations of the Lagos State EndSARS panel viz-a-viz the killings of protesters at Lekki toll gate are yet to be implemented while the Lekki massacre victims are yet to be compensated.
The YRC hereby call for the release of over 200 EndSARS protesters still in detention across the country as well as freedom for all political detainees including Omoyele Sowore. We demand the restoration of the identity cards and other documents of Omoyele Sowore all of which were reportedly deactivated by the government a few days ago in yet another state attack on the activist. We demand full implementation of the Lagos EndSARS panel and report of similar panels across the country. We also demand the immediate payment of compensation and other reliefs to all victims of state repression including those killed and maimed in Lekki and other parts of the country.
To be clear, if not for the protest by Nigerians against the undemocratic banning of Twitter, the government would not only have sustained the ban, it could have taken similar step against other social media platforms while unleashing more attacks on democratic rights. This is because the motive behind the ban of twitter is to deny Nigerians the civic space to organize any form of resistance to anti-poor, capitalist policies of the government.
It is common knowledge that Twitter social media platform was instrumental to the EndSARS mass protest of October 2020, and banning it was not unconnected to how the platform is was being used by Nigerians to organize and communicate during and after the EndSARS protest. Therefore, we regard the unbanning as a victory for the mass of Nigerians against tyranny.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the government has not in any way slowed down on its tyrannical attacks on democratic rights of citizens. In fact, all of the issues raised through the EndSARS Protest by Nigerians, none of it has been resolved; it has worsened, in many cases. It is, therefore, exigent for socialists, working class and youth activists and mass of the people to build a movement that will be able to challenge the atrocities and anti-poor policies of the pro-capitalist government at all levels as well as place the need for socialist transformation of society as an end.