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Opinion: Two Ways The United States Can Punish President Buhari's Government For Banning Twitter

The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has become the latest high profile personality to react to the current ban on Twitter in Nigeria.

The top diplomat through his spokesman, Ned Price, said restricting the use of social media has no place in a democracy.

The strong-worded statement that was addressed to the Nigerian government condemned the suspension of the micro-blogging site and a warning that could lead to greater consequences.

Their message sends a strong signal to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, that Washington would not condone any plans to denial Nigerians their fundamental human rights.

With that in play, there is need for President Buhari to quickly rescind his decision before the United State pull their weight to force the government to eat the humble pie.

In this article, I'll be revealing two ways the US can punish Nigeria if our leaders refuse to stop their ban on Twitter.


Sanction

Sanction is one of the ways the United States can punish a foreign government for disobeying a law or rule. It's usually applied when a military coup takes place or a President is acting beyond his powers under the constitution. The case of President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus quickly comes to mind when the Biden administration in April renewed sanctions on nine state-owned companies for human rights violations by the regime. Nigeria could also face similar sanctions if the government fails to rescind its ban on Twitter, which the United States see as a plan to denial Nigerians their fundamental human rights.


Block Nigeria From Accessing Funds  

Another way Nigeria can be punished is if the United States uses its influence to block global financial institutions like the World Bank to stop further borrowing to Nigeria. This could also be an effective tool as the Buhari administration has relied heavily on borrowing to fund its budgets since it took over in 2015. If the US decides to block donor agencies from transacting any business with Nigeria, then the country is bound to face financial hardship which in the long run could affect every section of the economy.

To avoid any of these options from coming to play, there is a need for the Buhari administration to quickly lift the ban on Twitter and let Nigerians have their say when it comes to governance.

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