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President Buhari Orders Indefinite Suspension Of Twitter Operations In Nigeria

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The Federal Government of Nigeria, Friday, June 4, ordered the indefinite suspension of the operations of popular microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.

The statement, signed by Ministry spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi, cited the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

According to the statement, the Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all Over-The-Top (OTT) media services and social media operations in Nigeria.

It is not yet clear how the suspension will work but the Twitter website was still accessible from Lagos as of Friday afternoon.

The suspension comes days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account.

The tweet had referenced the Nigerian civil war as the President threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.

He stated;

Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigeria Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.

Buhari stated that his government will get “harder” on those hell-bent on destroying the country.

It sparked reactions from many Nigerians who interpreted the statement as a threat to commit human rights violations.

Buhari made the threat after receiving security reports from Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on the series of recent attacks on INEC facilities nationwide, especially in the South East.

The President’s Twitter account was reported by Nigerians who understood the last part of the thread as threats against Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its military wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Many reminded Buhari of the consequences of Nigerian Civil War which lasted from 1967 to 1970, stating that such must not be repeated.

Over 3 million Nigerians, mostly Igbo people, died during the war. Millions of people, especially children also starved to death.

Social media users likened the President’s statement to that of the former United States President Donald Trump which earned him a permanent suspension.

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