Friday, June 4, 2021 5:15 pm
Nigerian Government on Friday announced indefinite suspension of the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in the country.
The suspension followed the removal of tweets and a video clip from the twitter handle of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday,
citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the
process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria,” the Minister said in a statement signed by Segun Adeyemi, his Special Assistant.
Mohammed had on Wednesday condemned the reaction of Twitter, to President Buhari’s series of tweets via his verified Twitter handle @mbuhari.
In the tweets which were removed, the President had warned those agitating for secession and attacking police, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and killing of security operatives to desist.
He said `rude shock awaits’ those unpatriotic elements promoting insurrection and burning critical national assets across the country.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,’’ the president stated via his twitter page.
Twitter, however, deleted the tweet, stating: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules”.
Reacting to the development, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, accused Twitter of double standard, saying twitter had deliberately ignored inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and his cohorts.
The minister also accused twitter of displaying the same biases it did during the ENDSARS protest where government and private property were looted and set on fire, taming its human rights, while “it finds Buhari’s tweet offensive’’.
According to him, Twitter’s role is suspect and Nigeria will not be fooled.
He said: “Twitter may have its own rules; it’s not the universal rule. If Mr President, anywhere in the world feels very bad and concern about a situation, he is free to express such views.
“Now, we should stop comparing apples with oranges. If an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.
“Two, any organisation that gives directives to its members, to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centres, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that? We are the ones guilty of double standards.
“I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed.
“By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with.”