While the country ‘boils’ with words over the suspension of Twitter by the Federal Government, the real fires are still burning all over the country.
To some of us, this Twitter ban is a distraction from the main issues haunting the country. And the issues are many.
For one, a lot of the twittering Nigerians are Diasporans who reside in different countries. All these ‘Abroad’ Nigerians still have access to the micro blogging service so they are still tweeting. So, from Nigerians in Benin Republic and Ghana, to those in South Africa, Egypt, Dubai, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australasia, South America to Central and East Europe, they are tweeting and not affected by the ban at home, even though we cannot see their messages, except you are one of those bold and desperate enough to go on the foreign-based Virtual Private Networks, VPN, who are even now being threatened with prosecution.
Some analysts have showed us figures of how many billions of Naira Nigeria has lost in this imbroglio. Twitter is a business and would also have lost some millions of dollars, I am sure. It is a given that the loss on the Nigerian side will be from local businesses and individuals.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the furore, we have somehow ignored or forgotten about the real issues of insecurity, secession threats, nepotism, banditry, terrorism, food shortage and hunger, road accidents, deaths, extra judicial killings, suspicions, Apapa gridlock, migration of young people to greener pastures, salary and pension arrears, Naira devaluation, militancy, oil spillage – they are many.
But these main issues are still with us; and we are letting the bickering over government and Twitter ban take centre stage.
Let me remind us of current and recent reports about the above issues:
- Gunmen attack Igangan, Ibarapaland, in Oyo State killing 15 residents.
- Prophet T. B. Joshua, the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) has died in Lagos, aged 57.
- One gunman was shot dead this Sunday morning in Owerri and seven others were arrested when they tried to attack the Imo State police headquarters.
- Bandits have killed between 66 and 99 persons in Danko-Wasagu Local Government Area of Kebbi State. The killing took place in Koro, kimpi, Gaya, Dimi, Zutu, Rafin Gora and Iguenge villages, all in Danko/Wasagu LGA of Kebbi State. (Casualty figures not official and depend on who is reporting)
- The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) has confirmed the death of former Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau. ISWAP says Shekau blew himself up after refusing to surrender following the invasion of his hideout on May 19, 2021.
- The Amalgamation of Northern Women Associations, on Saturday, demanded a referendum to allow Biafran agitators to choose whether or not to remain in Nigeria.
- Militants leader Tompolo has relaxed the 7-day ultimatum he gave to the Federal Government but insists that a substantive board for the NDDC on or before the end of this month (June) 2021.
- Eight children hawking wares were on Friday killed by a truck conveying cows at Kwata flyover junction in Awka, Anambra State. In response to the accident and deaths, angry youths mobilized and set ablaze the lorry, with the cows in it.
- The Catholic Church has banned Fr. Ejike Mbaka, Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministries Enugu from commenting on political matters.
- Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka denies supporting agitation for Yoruba Nation
- The passenger check-in system at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos has collapsed and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has apologized to passengers over what it calls a temporary malfunction.
- Facebook announced on Friday that former US President Donald Trump is suspended from its platform for two years.
- Humanitarian crisis looms in Zamfara State, according to Doctors Without Borders – Medecins Sans Frontieres
- One dead as bus collides with articulated lorry in Lagos.
- Niger pupils’ abduction: Bandits hike ransom to N200 million.
- ENDSARS Probe: Pathologist says hospital conducted autopsies on 99 corpses, including Lekki Tollgate Victims
- After 9 Years, 7.2 mega watts power project still uncompleted
- DSS operative killed in Ekiti State
- Unknown gunmen continue to make blood to flow in the South East
- Omoyele Sowore insists he will continue his revolution now protest
- Bandits in Kaduna kill five, burn church, injure pastors’ wives
- Sunday Igboho says 2023 election will not hold in South West
- NDLEA seizes Borno-bound Tramadol, Diazepam in Lagos
- Banks begin collection of N6.98 fee on each USSD transaction on behalf of Telecoms companies.
- Unidentified corpses are said to litter hospitals in Imo State
- Nigeria loses to Cameroon in friendly football match in Austria
With all these distressing reports, we have allowed ourselves to be distracted by the right or wrong of Twitter deleting President Buhari’s post and the Nigerian government’s indefinite suspension of the service. It has been a case of ‘If you delete my tweet, I will suspend you’, just like ‘If you Tarka me, I will Daboh you’. (Who is old enough for that?)
May be the Twitter ban and related issues have this weekend reduced the sting from the reality of life in Nigeria – the rough life, if you wish. We have someone else to blame for our problems.
So, tomorrow, Monday is when reality will set in and we will start asking ourselves the usual questions – Who Twitter Epp sef; OR, Who Government Epp?
Meanwhile in the midst of this fight, I am sure both sides are already looking for soft landings for themselves so as not to lose face. And you and I are squabbling and wasting our ink for them.
Raise your hand if you have received ‘epp’ from either party.
Epa Ogie Eboigbe, veteran journalist, broadcaster and public affairs specialist, writes on, and analyses current and historical issues with a ‘wise pen’.