The United States has renewed its condemnation of Nigeria for suspending Twitter’s operations in the country, a move that senior U.S. officials said is a sign of restricting political space in Nigeria.
A report on the website of Voice of America (VOA) yesterday quoted Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Akunna Cook, as saying during a Monday webinar hosted by the Washington-based Atlantic Council that “the Twitter suspension was very concerning and remains a source of concern.”
Cook, a daughter of Nigerian immigrants, said the country can “play a constructive role” in West Africa but “signs of closing of political space” and signs of restricting free speech are worrisome.
The Nigerian government’s Cook also called China a “strategic competitor” on the continent, while urging Beijing to have “greater transparency” when giving loans to African countries.
“Transparency limits corruption. China has become a large lender to African countries and many large borrowers from China are struggling, struggling with debt sustainability,” Cook said.
The State Department’s top official on African affairs also said there will be “more robust engagements” between the U.S. and Africa under President Joe Biden’s administration but stopped short of elaborating whether there will be a U.S.-Africa summit in 2022, the same year as a planned Russia-Africa summit.