Twitter Blocked In Nigeria After Deleting a Tweet By Its President
The microblogging site Twitter is suspended “indefinitely” in Nigeria, “for the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence,” according to a statement (threaded on Twitter) from the country’s minister of information and culture.
The move comes days after the platform removed a threatening tweet by president Muhammadu Buhari which Twitter said violated its “abusive behavior” policy.
In Buhari’s deleted tweet, he suggested he would punish secessionists. “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Biafra war,” he wrote. “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.” Buhari was a major general during the Biafra war, which left more than a million people dead.
Twitter’s Public Policy team said in a statement Saturday it was “deeply concerned” and would work to restore access in Nigeria. Reuters reported Saturday that Twitter’s website was not accessible on some of Nigeria’s mobile carriers, but appeared to be working sporadically on other carriers in Lagos and Abuja, two of the country’s biggest cities.
We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) June 5, 2021
We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn
“Suspending Twitter in Nigeria is just one more way of stating that people’s rights do not matter just what the State wants,” Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International in Nigeria tweeted. “This is a dangerous precedent and must be called out for what it is.” Amnesty called on Nigerian authorities to immediately reverse the suspension, “and other plans to gag the media, repress civic space, and undermine Nigerians’ human rights.”