The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
This was announced on Friday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Adeyemi.
However, checks by our correspondent showed that Twitter is still up in Nigeria as of the time of filing this report as users still have access to the platform. The minister’s statement was also silent on the time that the ban would be enforced.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Twitter deleted a post by the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday.
The President had condemned the attacks on police stations, prisons, and offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, especially in the South-East, warning that those supporting insurrection and violence in the country would be shocked.
Buhari had tweeted, “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. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The President’s tweet riled some persons who felt he was insensitive to have made an analogy of the civil war. His critics subsequently reported the tweet to Twitter and the microblogging site later deleted the post with a comment, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules”.
Mohammed subsequently knocked Twitter for supporting insurrection in Nigeria since last October during the #EndSARS protests which ended in the destruction of lives and properties all over the country.
Reacting consequently on Friday in a statement, the minister said the Buhari government has suspended the activities of Twitter in the country.
The statement titled, ‘FG Suspends Twitter’s Operations in Nigeria’, read, “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 to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that a lawyer and member of the President’s All Progressives Congress ruling party, Dr Daniel Bwala, said Twitter deleted Buhari’s post out of malice but failed to delete the inciting posts of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
Bwala had also accused Twitter Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey, of supporting a process that could have led to insurrection in Nigeria since last October during the #EndSARS protest.
He had also urged the Federal Government to launch an official complaint with the United States Congress to invite Twitter CEO to explain his recent role in the activities in Nigeria that are widely regarded as agitation for secession.
The Buhari regime has in recent time sought stiffer penalties for persons who “misuse social media”.
The Senate is currently deliberating on Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019 commonly known as the anti-social media bill.
It seeks to criminalise the use of social media in peddling false or malicious information. It was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Musa, a member of the President’s All Progressives Congress.