Nigeria suspends Twitter operations, says platform ‘undermines its corporate existence’

The Nigerian government via its Ministry of Information and Culture today announced its decision to suspend the activities of social media platform Twitter in the country.

The statement which was made by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and signed off by his media aide Segun Adeyemi could see telecoms in the country prevent Nigerians from using Twitter.

Here’s the statement issued by the ministry:

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 presistent 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 Comission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.

Today’s announcement is a culmination of events that have happened this past week. Yesterday, Twitter deleted tweets and videos of President Muhammadu Buhari making threats of punishment to a sect called IPOB in the South-Eastern part of the country after he blamed them for attacks on government buildings. For that, he referenced the events that happened in Nigeria’s civil war back in the 1960s which seemed offensive to many Nigerians.

Buhari who was the country’s Head of State in the 1980s and served in the army against secessionists said young Nigerians in the southeastern part of the country were too young to remember the horrible events that occurred during the war. According to him, the activities of the present-day secessionists are likely headed towards war, hence, it was prereogative to stop them beforehand.

“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he said.

Twitter decided to delete the tweet after several calls by Nigerians to take them down and also because it violated the platform’s abusive behaviour policy. Twitter also suspended the president’s account leaving it in a ‘read-only mode’ for 12 hours.

Following Twitter’s decision, Mr Mohammed called out Twitter by saying the social media company was biased in its decision and raised suspicion about the platform’s intention in the country.

We have reached out to Twitter for comments.

This is a developing story…

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