Twitter has deleted a tweet in which Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari appear to threaten separatists among the people of Igbo-dominated South-East.
In a statement issued by the office of President Muhammadu Buhari, who previously led Nigeria as a military ruler in the early 1980s, said “a rude shock” awaits “those bent on destroying the country through promoting insurrection, and burning down critical national assets”.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through war, will treat them in the language they understand. We are going to be very hard sooner than later,” Buhari, who served in the army against the secessionists, was quoted as saying.
Many Nigerians interpreted Mr. Buhari’s tweet as a boast about the role he played alongside other Nigerian military officers in the Nigerian Civil War of 1966-70, during which over one million Igbo civilians were killed.
The president’s tweet followed widespread insecurity and attacks on public facilities blamed on a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and what police call its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network. But the IPOB has repeatedly denied involvement.
However, reacting to the development, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday accused Twitter, of double standards for deleting the post from its platform.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Mohammed said Twitter had conveniently ignored inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and others.
He said Twitter’s role is suspicious and Nigeria would not be fooled.
He said, “Twitter may have its own rules, they are not the universal rules. If Mr President, anywhere in the world, feels very bad and concern about a situation, he is free to express such views.
“Now, we should stop comparing apples with oranges. If an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.
“Two, any organisation that gives directives to its members, to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centres, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that?
“They are the ones guilty of double standards. I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed.
“By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with.”
President Muhammadu Buhari is the most popular African leader on Twitter with over 4 million followers.