The Federal government has announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.
Below is a statement released from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announcing the suspension:
“The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
The 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.”
Two days ago, Twitter deleted a tweet by Nigeria’s president Muhammad Buhari in which he threatened to punish pro-Biafra groups blamed for escalating attacks on government and security authorities.
The social media firm said Buhari’s tweet violated its “abusive behaviour” policy, leading to a 12-hour suspension of his account.
The tweet promised a response to waves of attacks blamed on the Eastern Security Network (ESN), an armed group which emerged from the main pro-Biafran secessionist movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In recent months, attacks targeting police stations, government buildings and electoral offices in south-east Nigeria, as well as the killing of a number of government and civil service officials, have been blamed on the ESN.
Several Twitter users said they reported the tweet for inciting violence in the predominantly ethnically Igbo region.
The comments in the tweet were taken from a speech the president had made, in response to a wave of arson attacks against several electoral offices.
“I think we have given them enough latitude. They have made their case, they just wanted to destroy the country,” he said, appearing to reference secessionist agitators. “Whoever wanted diversion or destruction of the system at this point, I think will soon have the shock of their lives,” he also warned.