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Nigeria slams Canada over support for #EndSARS, defends social media regulation

By Dennis Erezi
13 February 2022   |   6:51 pm
Nigeria government on Sunday slammed the government of Canada and Twitter for 'double standards' during the nationwide #EndSARS protests against police brutality. For more than three weeks in October 2020, thousands of Nigerian youths mobilised en masse and marched across the country with support from influential figures like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, the United States…
Nigeria President

Nigeria slams Canada over #EndSARS support, defends social media regulation…<br />Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) delivers a speech at the launch of the largest rice pyramids in Abuja, Nigeria, on January 18, 2022. – The bags of rice which were planted and harvested by Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) from states in Nigeria, are one million rice paddies stacked in 15 separate pyramids which is expected to solve the food crisis in Nigeria. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Nigeria government on Sunday slammed the government of Canada and Twitter for ‘double standards’ during the nationwide #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

For more than three weeks in October 2020, thousands of Nigerian youths mobilised en masse and marched across the country with support from influential figures like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, the United States and the government of Canada.

Canada is currently facing truckers’ protests over Covid vaccine certification. Truckers blocked Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, a key bridge linking the country and the United States, for about a week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the protesters had no right to block the bridge. The protesters were finally cleared out by police on Sunday.

“Canada was one of the countries that spoke out in support of the protesters,” Nigeria information minister Lai Mohammed said at a press conference in the capital city Abuja.

“Recall also that Twitter actively supported the EndSars protesters and even helped them to raise funds while GoFundMe was used to raise funds for the protests.”

Canada-Twitter double standards
During the protests, Canada condemned the Nigerian government’s use of security operatives to disperse protesters and labelled it as an abuse of human rights freedom of expression.

Kaycee Madu, a Nigerian appointed as a justice minister in a province in Canada, endorsed protests against brutality in Nigeria, his country of birth.

He narrated how his cousin was “murdered” by Nigerian policemen in 2013 and that the policing system in Nigeria needed total reform.

Fifteen months after the #EndSARS protests that grounded Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, Canada is facing a similar issue with truck drivers shutting down movements in Ontario to protest a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination directive.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the protests is unacceptable.

Twitter whose platform was used to mobilise for #EndSARS protest in Nigeria, suspended the account of the Canadian truckers.

Mohammed, however, said the Nigerian government is “not gloating over the unfortunate development in Canada – but we are only calling attention to the double standards involved in the way protesters deemed to be violent are perceived in Nigeria and in the West.”

National security over constitutional rights to freedom
Making reference to the January 6th, 2021 riot at Capitol Hill in the United States, Mohammed said “nobody wants their country destroyed under the guise of protests.”

The Nigerian minister stated there must be a secured country before constitutional freedoms can be enjoyed.

“If there is no Nigeria, no one will be talking of freedom of expression or freedom of association and the like,” Mohammed said.

“This realisation explains why every country goes the extra mile to protect and preserve itself. And this also explains why we have continued to insist on the regulation of social media to ensure responsible content.”

Nigeria defends Twitter ban and social media regulation
Nigeria government has not spared Twitter of the damages; destruction of public, private properties and killing security operatives during the #EndSARS protests.

In the agreement to lift the seven months ban on Twitter, Nigeria said it now has access to control offensive contents that threaten its national security. And it is urging other countries to do the same.

“In this area, I can confidently say we are far ahead of most countries in the world, who have now realized that social media must be regulated in the interest of their own people,” Mohammed said.

He reiterates that conditions that were given  to  Twitter “will also apply to other social media platforms, has made us a global trailblazer in efforts to prevent harmful content from social media platforms.”