The Nigerian government says it has “indefinitely suspended” Twitter’s operations in the country days after the social media platform administrators removed Nigerian president’s ‘abusive’ message.
In a statement on Friday, the Ministry of Information and Culture announced that government has decided to ‘indefinitely’ ban the social media platform in the country.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had tweeted in relation to the 1967-70 civil war saying, “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand”. The tweet was widely perceived as offensive and targeting the Igbo-dominated South-East.
The authorities accused the American social media company of allowing its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.” Surprisingly, the statement was issued on on the ministry’s official Twitter handle.
“The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria,” it read.
In that tweet on Tuesday, the Nigerian leader threatened to deal with people in the country’s southeast, who he blames for the recurring attacks on public infrastructure in the region.
“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” Buhari wrote in the now-deleted tweet, referring to the brutal two-year Nigeria-Biafra war, which killed an estimated one to three million people, mostly from the Igbo tribe in the eastern part of the country between 1967-1970.
The tweet was deleted Wednesday after many Nigerians flagged it to Twitter.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed criticized Twitter’s action and accused the social media giant of “double standards.”