The Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Information and Culture, has announced its decision to suspend the operations of the social media platform Twitter in the country, TechCrunch reported. The statement made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammad, and signed by his media assistant, Segun Adeyemi, may see communications in the country preventing Nigerians from using Twitter.
Here is the text of the statement issued by the ministry, as reported by TechCrunch:
The federal government has indefinitely suspended the operations of the microblogging and social networking service Twitter in Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammad, announced the comment in a statement issued in Abuja, citing the platform’s continued use of activities that would undermine companies’ presence in Nigeria.
The minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately begin the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
The announcement is the culmination of the events of the past week. Twitter has deleted tweets and videos of President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish a sect called IPOB in the southeastern part of the country after blaming them for attacks on government buildings. He then referred to the events of the civil war in Nigeria in the 1960s, which seemed to offend many Nigerians.
Buhari, who was the country’s head of state in the 1980s and served in the army against separatists, said young Nigerians in the southeastern part of the country were too young to remember the horrific events that occurred during the war.
According to him, the activities of the current separatists are likely to be directed towards war. Hence, it was proactive to stop them by force beforehand.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who have been through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he said.
Twitter chose to delete the tweet after it violated its abusive behavior policy and numerous calls by Nigerians to remove it, according to the report. Twitter also suspended the president’s account and left it in “read-only mode” for 12 hours.
After her decision, Mr. Mohamed called the social media giant, saying his decision was biased and said the president had the right to express his thoughts on the events affecting the country. It also raised doubts about the intention of the platform in the country. Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not a universal rule. If Mr. President anywhere in the world feels very badly and concerned about the situation, he is free to express such views. The Twitter mission in Nigeria is highly suspicious, the report said.
Nigeria has proceeded to suspend the platform’s operations in the country. And while Twitter does not have any offices in the country, this announcement can still be carried out. Although there is no ban on social media yet.
In an email, TechCrunch quoted Twitter, which recently opened its first African office in Ghana, “the announcement by the Nigerian government that it has suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria is deeply concerning. We are investigating and will provide updates when we know more.”