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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari during a conference in Paris in May. Photo: Lucovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of State condemned Nigeria's Twitter ban and its threat to arrest and prosecute Nigerians found using the app in a statement Thursday, saying the policy "has no place in a democracy."

Why it matters: The department requested that Nigeria's government respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression and reverse the ban on the social media platform, which has been extremely popular in Africa's most populous nation.

Context: The country banned the platform after Twitter temporarily froze Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's account for violating its "abusive behavior" policy.

  • Nigeria's attorney general and minister of justice also directed the country's communications regulator and federal prosecutors over the weekend to start charging and arresting people who circumvent the ban through virtual private networks.
  • Twitter and other platforms are routinely used by citizens around the world to voice their dissent or concerns to their governments.

What they're saying: "Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy," Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, said.

  • "Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies," he added.
  • "We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity. As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension."

Go deeper

Biden blasts Supreme Court's "unprecedented assault" on abortion rights

President Biden in the White House on Sept. 1. Photo: Doug Mills/Pool/Getty Images

President Biden condemned the Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' ban on most abortions to remain in place as "an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights," pledging to launch a "whole-of-government" effort to protect access to safe and legal abortion in the state.

Why it matters: The ban, which took effect Wednesday, is the most restrictive abortion law to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.