The Federal government banned Twitter in Nigeria last Friday after the App deleted a controversial comment made by President Muhammadu Buhari, in which he made reference to the Nigerian Civil War, which many Nigerians described as distasteful.
This was greeted by public condemnation with Nigerians claiming the microblogging platform is usually used for many profitable and purposeful activities.
Hence, conversations around Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Proxy browsers flooded the social media spaces which have helped many retain their online presence on the banned platform.
This was followed by an order by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, directing the immediate prosecution of offenders of the Federal Government ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
However, checks by SaharaReporters have revealed that four days after the suspension announcement, a significant number of the country’s population still access the platform, tweeting, retweeting and quote tweeting.
Many prominent Nigerians and bodies such as religious, legal, media house and practitioners have also remained very much active on Twitter.
Below is a list of some prominent figures who have used Twitter between the time its operations were banned in Nigeria and Tuesday, June 8.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye’s Twitter handle, @PastorEAAdeboye is still very active.
The cleric, who joined the site in January 2011 has over 1.8M followers. His last tweet, as at the time of filing this report read, “Thank You, Father, for all our elders who You have faithfully kept to their old age. Thank You for keeping them in good health and sound mind. Thank You for protecting them despite all that is happening in the world today. #OpenHeavensDevotional”
Adeboye, on Monday defended his continued usage of Twitter.
The cleric wrote on his Twitter handle on Monday, “The Redeemed Christian Church of God is domiciled in more than 170 Nations & Territories. The tweets here are in accordance to Article 19 of the UN universal declaration of Human Rights.”
Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Pastor William Kumuyi
Also, the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi @pastorwf_kumuyi is currently active on the social media platform with over 37, 000 followers. The handle’s last tweet was on Tuesday morning. It read,
Kumuyi who defied the ban on Monday, said tweets shared on his page are targeted at a global audience in more than 5 continents and over 100 nations. “In view of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, please note that the content shared on this handle is targeted at a global audience in more than 5 continents and over 100 Nations and we share the content from any of these locations,” he tweeted
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organisation, devoted to promoting transparency, accountability and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria has also defied the ban.
@SERAPNigeria joined Twitter in June 2010 and has active followership of over 159, 000 people. The body had consistently kicked against the ban stating that there was no recognised law in the Nigerian constitution that allows for such a ban.
Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore @YeleSowore with over 500, 000 followers is also active on the social media platform.
Sowore, who has always called for a revolution, posted a picture on Tuesday morning calling for the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Concerned Nigerians Group
A civil rights movement, Concerned Nigerians @ConcernedNIG has also defied the ban on Twitter in Nigeria. The group, with over 44, 000 followers said it is committed to defending Human Rights and the Rule Of Law in Nigeria.
Former presidential aide, Reno Omokri @renoomokri is also active on the platform 948.8K. As of Tuesday morning, Omokri tweeted more than once challenging the Nigerian authorities to come and arrest him. One of his tweets read,
Femi Fani-Kayode @realFFK, who served as a Minister of Aviation from 2006 to 2007 is also active on the platform. Fani-Kayode keeps updating his over 1 million followers with news and events in the country.
Apostle Johnson Suleman
Apostle Johnson Suleman, @APOSTLESULEMAN, pastor of a megachurch, Omega Fire Ministries is still active on the platform with over 561, 000 followers.
Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District from 2015 to 2019 has actively kicked against the Twitter ban.
He wrote on Tuesday morning, “To tell me not to Tweet is to deny my fundamental right to express myself or to forcefully dictate to me where to speak or not to speak. I’m in defiance of laws that defy my right. Power should be guided by the constitution it derived its legitimacy.”
Sani @ShehuSani, who joined Twitter in 2010 has over 1.9 million followers.
Ex-governor Ayo Fayose
Former governor of Ekiti State, Peter Ayodele Fayose @GovAyoFayose is still active on Twitter with this over 900, 000 followers.
Fayose’s tweet on Tuesday morning read, “Anyone they arrest will only end up being celebrated. No one should be moved by empty threats of arrest. Certainly, what has a beginning must have an end. This dictatorial govt came and shall definitely go. No shaking! Good days ahead.”
Pastor Sam Adeyemi SeniorPastor of Daystar Christian Center, Sam Adeyemi @sam_adeyemi is also active on Twitter. Although his last tweet was on Sunday, the cleric, with over 1.4 million followers, retweeted a post on Monday.
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