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Stakeholders to FG: Social media ban stifling whistle blowing policy, anti-corruption war



Stakeholders at a Radio Town Hall Meeting on Whistle blowing and Whistle blower Protection have joined calls for the Federal Government to restore Twitter operations in Nigeria, saying the ban of the micro blogging site amounts to disservice to the government’s fight against corruption and whistle blowing policy.


The Federal Government had announced an “indefinite suspension” of Twitter operations in Nigeria last Friday.


Speaking at a town hall meeting organized by the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) in collaboration with the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG), Wednesday in Abuja, the Director of Programs at YIAGA Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu asserted that the ban on Twitter was misplaced.


Mbamalu lamented that the clampdown on Twitter is causing distrust and will affect whistle blowing in Nigeria.

She stressed that the government failed to look at the broader picture and benefits of the platform in the fight against corruption before slamming a ban on it.


“Twitter was one platform where people were revealing and reporting incidences, it was one platform where people beyond the young entrepreneurs who conduct businesses earn a living. There were critical reports of violation, corruption, and demands for accountability, and they were all done on the Twitter platform.


“The whole conversation around sex for grade and having a bill to criminalize sexual harassment in tertiary institutions all started with a social media campaign, on Twitter platform in particular.


“The platform remains an important platform to demanding accountability,” Mbamalu stressed.


She called on citizens not to relent in holding the government accountable against all odds.

She called for more education for citizens in the fight against corruption, noting that women will play a better role in the fight against corruption if they get more education.


Similarly, Community Engagement Officer at Connected Development, (CODE), Mukhtar Modibbo condemned the suspension of Twitter operation in the country, saying that trust was lacking between the people and government.


“Look at the reality of the country, you will be wondering if the citizens will be able to trust the system.”



“How many people were protected after blowing the whistle? One of the persons was someone that collected the money and had to leave the country because his life was under threat”.


Modibbo called on the government to do more in mobilizing citizens against corruption by being more responsible, and open for citizens to hold them accountable.


On his part, The Team Lead, Tap Initiative, Martin Obono while expressing discontent on the Twitter ban disclosed that there are a plethora of benefits in using technology and social media to expose corruption, adding that it is high time Nigeria developed an App to fight corruption.


“Government must look at the negative sides of banning social media. Technology provides grounds for tweet meet, short messages to document abuses and human rights.


“There are a plethora of areas to use social media to fight corruption but in the absence of whistle blowing law, the creation of an App to expose corruption and protection of whistle blower’s identity is needed.”


According to Obono, the steam of whistle blowing is dying because some people who blew the whistle in the past never got the incentive government promised them. He urged the government to demonstrate political will that they are really interested in fighting corruption, which will inadvertently make citizens act accordingly.


Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons With Disability, Musa Mu’azu Musa pleaded with the government to immediately reverse its ban on Twitter.


Musa who stated that persons with disability (PWDs) can play a major role in the fight against corruption but decried the spate of corruption in the country.

He claimed that 99 percent of problems faced today by PWDs are caused by corruption.


His words: “I am advising the government please, apart from the economic benefits there are social rights around it, we owe it to our government to get feedback on their policies and the only way we can give them that feedback is through those platforms (Twitter). So we want them to lift the Twitter ban and also encourage people to speak using the platform,” Musa stated.


The Radio Town Hall meeting Series will initially run for eight weeks and alternate weekly between Ray Power 100.5 FM, Abuja, and 99.9 Kiss FM Abuja.


It is a collaborative effort between AFRICMILL and PRIMORG, aimed at increasing citizen’s active participation and involvement, and encouraging the government to institutionalize the whistle-blowing policy.


The project is supported by MacArthur Foundation.

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