The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced it has suspended Twitter’s operations in the country indefinitely, two days after the platform deleted President Buhari’s tweet.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of ‘undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence’.
On Wednesday, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets was deleted from Twitter over complaints that he had threatened genocide against secessionists in the country’s southeast.
“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,” he tweeted.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he wrote in what was taken as a warning of a fierce crackdown on rising violence across the country.
Twitter confirmed to Reuters that Buhari’s message was removed for violating its “abusive behavior” policy, also leading to a 12-hour suspension of his account.
Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed was dismissive of Twitter’s action.
“Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule,” he told reporters following the President’s suspension on Wednesday. “If Mr. President anywhere in the world feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views.”
Nigeria has seen a spate of arson attacks on electoral offices and police stations in recent weeks, especially in the southeast. Police officers have also been killed.
Authorities have blamed the attacks on a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra and what the police call its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network. Both organizations has repeatedly denied involvement.