The Movement for A Socialist Alternative (MSA) condemns the banning of Twitter activities in Nigeria by Major-General Buhari’s regime. We call for the immediate unbanning of Twitter, as it deprives Nigerians of their Constitutional and fundamental right to freedom of expression.

The ban was already in the woods, waiting for the ‘right’ excuse by the regime, following the effective use of Twitter by the youths for mobilisation during the #EndSARS protest in September/October 2020.

Rather than accept the deletion of the provocative tweets made by him as a warning to desist from threats to re-enact the agonies of civil war on Igbo people, and take steps to address the legitimate agitation of the working masses for a better and dignifying living standard, the regime maintains an obstinate path of perdition. The regime rather said that the ban was to stop the persistent use of Twitter for activities that threaten Nigeria’s existence. That is untrue!

Indeed the banning of Twitter shows a regime that is ramping up attack on any medium Nigerians may use to protest or organise protest against its several anti-people policies and the daily killings and abductions across the country. This is a first step on the part of Buhari’s regime to completely take away the internet from Nigerians, and stifle democratic right in order to prevent criticisms of its anti-masses policies. This cast the picture of a jittery government that is afraid of a free people, because of its obvious failures.

The government has already normalised the deployment of troops and the police to disperse peaceful protests before now. Twitter ban is therefore a means of continuing this regime’s determined assault on the rights of citizens to protest the hellish conditions the capitalist policies of President Buhari have created for the country.

With the ban, Nigeria joined the abhorrent league of dictatorial governments that have banned Twitter like the governments of China, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan. These are regimes notorious for unlawful detention, denial of human rights and for visiting terror on their people.

While the Buhari regime has not hidden its dictatorial fangs before now, it is increasingly becoming more emboldened because of the incapability of his regime to provide answers to the excruciating poverty that is creating agitations and is the primary cause of criminality in the country. Not many options are opened to the regime to tinker with the economy under capitalism, except to inflict more of the same failed dosage of deregulation, increase in pump price, electricity tariff to access incessant foreign loans, leading us into more debts that two generations may not be able to pay off. The repression and ruthlessness of the regime will therefore continue if the working class and masses don’t stand up to it.

We call on the leadership of the labour movement to end it’s collaboration with the regime and stand on the side of the workers, poor farmers, poor herders, youth and the masses. It is now exigent that labour leaders call for a 24-hours warning General Strike to take a stand against the descent of this country to a complete dictatorship.

Already there are calls in certain quarters for a mass protest on June 12, Nigeria’s Democracy day. We welcome the protest and urge all Nigerians no matter where they come from to join in making the protest a success. It is however important to state that the ruling elites are more afraid of the power of Nigeria’s working class in action against them and their ruinous policies. The working class cannot only ground economic activities, they can prevent the ruling class, even temporarily, from continuing with their act of misgovernance while at the same time demonstrating that the working masses are in reality the real power behind the functioning wheel of society. It follows therefore that civil protest movements must continuously aim for the support and independent action of the working class and their organizations to lead the struggle to not just bring an end to the Buhari regime, but also seek to replace it with a government of the working people.

The MSA stands in opposition to attacks on democratic rights of Nigerians. We maintain that the struggle and sacrifices of the common people, which led to the end of military rule on May 29, 1999, should never be allowed to be undone by a terribly reactionary section of the capitalist ruling class.

We also hold that the Buhari regime has vindicated us when we say there’s no viable future for Nigeria under neocolonial capitalism. It is the programme of Scientific Socialism that is capable of building this country’s economy for the common people on the basis of democratic and collective management of the wealth and resources of the country, by a working people’s government, without the pressure of corruption or commitments to the IMF or World Bank and other imperialist enslavers.

Dagga Tolar
Spokesperson, MSA