FG Suspends Twitter Operation In Nigeria Days After Buhari Tweet Was Deleted

The federal government of Nigeria has announced the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria. The announcement was made by Lai Mohammed the minister of Information and Culture on Friday. According to the minister, the micro blogging and social networking platform has been used persistently for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria. Lai Mohammed had earlier described Twitter as a suspect. The minister stated this while addressing state house correspondents on Wednesday.

According to Lai Mohammed, Twitter is turning a blind eye on the activities of IPOB, which Nigerian authorities have declared a terrorist organization. According to his words; “Twitter may have its own rules, it is not the universal rule. If Mr President, anywhere in the world, feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views. If an organization is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.

“Two, any organization that gives directives to its members to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centers, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that?

“I don’t see anywhere in the world where a person in an organization will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organization has been proscribed. By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with,” Lai Mohammed stated.

The minister who was not done also questioned Twitter’s mission in Nigeria, saying the organization’s style of operation makes it a suspect.

According to his words; “The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very suspicious. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending? The same Twitter, during the #ENDSARS protests was the one that was funding #ENDSARS protesters.

It was the first to close the account of former President of US Donald Trump. And you see, when people were burning police stations and killing policemen in Nigeria during #ENDSARS, for Twitter, it was about their right to protest. But when a similar thing happened on the Capital, it became insurrection.

“You see, we are not going to be fooled by anybody. We have a country to rule and we will do so to the best of our ability. Twitter’s mission in Nigeria citing those two examples is very suspicious. What is their agenda?

“How does Mr President’s speech, that anybody who destroyed Government infrastructure, police offices and INEC offices should be ready for the consequences. Is that inciting violence?” the minister questioned.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday dealt with a major blow as Twitter deleted one of his controversial tweets. It all started after the President had met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who had briefed him on all that has been going on in the country.

Buhari after the meeting which was held at the First Lady Conference room, promised to meet all the demands of the commission for the 2023 elections. The president also reacted to the attacks plaguing the INEC facilities. Buhari vowed that these attacks would not stop 2023 or any election.

According to his words; “I receive daily security reports on the attacks on critical national infrastructure, and it is very clear that those behind them want this administration to fail. Whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. We have given them enough time,” Buhari stated on a Twitter post.

He continued; “I received a briefing today from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on the series of attacks on their facilities nationwide. These attacks are totally unacceptable, and we will not allow those behind them to achieve their evil objectives.

“I have assured INEC that we will make available to them everything they need to operate efficiently, so that no one will say we don’t want to go, or that we want a third term. There will be no excuse for failure. We will meet all of INEC’s demands.”

President Buhari also noted that the Service Chiefs and Inspector-General of Police has been changed and called on them to rise fully to the challenges confronting the nation.

According to his words; “There must be zero tolerance for all those bent on destroying our country by promoting crime and insurrection!” Buhari stated.

There was however, an aspect of Buhari’s tweets that got most people worried.

The President in one of his tweet, stated that those Misbehaving today are not aware of the destruction that occurred during the civil war. He threatened to treat them in the language they understand.

According to his words, “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.”

So many Nigerians were worried with the president’s last statement as they concluded that Buhari is as good as declaring another civil war on the Igbos. They had in turn reported the tweet calling on Twitter to take action.

Hours later, the social media giant, deleted Buhari’s tweet which made reference to the Biafran war of 1967-1970 wherein many lives were lost. A comment by Twitter stated; “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules”.

Out of annoyance Buhari and his Fulani government decided to suspend the operation of twitter in Nigeria with immediate effect till further notice without even looking at the repercussion of their decision and action on the Nigerian youths, whereas over 60 percent of Nigerian youths are influencers who make money from Twitter to cater for their families.

To support her husband decision Aisha Buhari has deactivated her Twitter account. Aisha Buhari wife to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has deactivated her Twitter account, in sympathy with the suspension of the microblogging social media platform, by the Buhari administration. In a tweet that has been deleted on Twitter, Aisha Buhari announced the deactivation and losing of about one million people who followed her on Twitter. “I will be deactivating my twitter account for now. Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria,” she tweeted.

Reacting to the action of the APC led government in suspending the operation of Twitter in Nigeria, the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria stating that Buhari is pushing Nigerians to the wall. According to the opposition party, the Federal Government proposed suspension of Twitter is a draconian action and a slide towards a fascist regime in the country.

The party in a statement on Friday asserted that the suspension of Twitter is a vexatious, condemnable, and barbaric move to muzzle Nigerians, particularly the youths, ostensibly to prevent them from holding the overtly corrupt, vindictive, and divisive Buhari administration accountable for its atrocities, including human right violations, patronizing of terrorists and outright suppressive acts against innocent Nigerians.

Austine Ikeru
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