NCC directs ALTON, internet service providers, to suspend access to Twitter

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has directed the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) to suspend users access to Twitter.

This was confirmed by the ALTON President, Gbenga Adebayo, in a statement on Saturday.

This action is connected with the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operations by the federal government, on Friday, two days after the microblogging site deleted a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari, in the deleted tweet, referenced the country’s civil war, and threatened to treat those attacking government buildings ‘with the language they understand.’

ALTON, the official industry body for all providers of telecommunications and subsidiary services in Nigeria, is duly registered under the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria as an Incorporated Trustee, and officially recognized by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Members of the association include; MTN, Airtel, Glo, 9mobile, CyberSpace, Spectranet and other internet service providers.

Mr. Adebayo noted that the association wished to confirm that its members had received formal instructions from NCC,  to suspend access to Twitter.

The statement read: “ALTON has also conducted a robust assessment of the request in accordance with internationally accepted principles.

“Based on national interest provisions in the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and within the licence terms under which the industry operates; our members have acted in compliance with the directives of NCC.

“We will continue to engage all relevant authorities and stakeholders and will act as may be further directed by the NCC, ” Mr. Adebayo said.

He added that the association will remain committed to supporting the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and upholding the rights of citizens.

However, according to him, as an industry, ALTON endorsed the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online.

He noted that this included respecting and protecting the rights of all people to communicate, to share information freely and responsibly, and to enjoy privacy and security regarding their data and their use of digital communications.

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