The Nigerian Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement signed by his Special Assistant Segun Adeyemi 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 (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
The development comes after Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet where he threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.
Buhari had in a tweet on Tuesday stated that his government will get “harder” on those hell-bent on destroying the country.
He said those wanting to destroy his government will receive the shock of their lives as his administration will do everything possible to ensure they fail.
The president said the sponsors and orchestrators of insecurity in the country are doing so because they want his administration to fail.
His tweet had read, ”I receive daily security reports on the attacks on critical national infrastructure, and it is very clear that those behind them want this administration to fail. Whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. We’ve given them enough time.
“I received a briefing today from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on the series of attacks on their facilities nationwide. These attacks are totally unacceptable, and we will not allow those behind them to achieve their evil objectives.
“I receive daily security reports on the attacks on critical national infrastructure, and it is very clear that those behind them want this administration to fail. Whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. Weâ€™ve given them enough time.
“I have assured INEC that we will make available to them everything they need to operate efficiently, so that no one will say we don’t want to go, or that we want a third term. There will be no excuse for failure. We will meet all of INEC’s demands.
“In the area of security, we have changed the Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General, and we are demanding that they rise fully to the challenges confronting us. There must be zero tolerance for all those bent on destroying our country by promoting crime and insurrection!
“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 Twitter account was reported by Nigerians who understood the last part of the thread as threats against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its military wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Many reminded Buhari of the consequences of the Nigerian Civil War which lasted from 1967 to 1970, stating that such must not be repeated.
Over 3 million Nigerians, mostly Igbo people, died during the war. Millions of people, especially children also starved to death.
Social media users likened President’s statement to that of the former United States President Donald Trump which earned the latter a permanent suspension.
Trump’s Twitter account was “permanently suspended… due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter had said.
Twitter said the decision was made “after close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account”.
Trump was locked out of his account for 12 hours after he called the people who stormed the US Capitol “patriots”.
Hundreds of his supporters entered the complex as the US Congress attempted to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. The ensuing violence led to the deaths of four civilians and a police officer.
Twitter warned then that it would ban Trump “permanently” if he breached the platform’s rules again. Trump posted two tweets further that the company cited as the final straws.
Following widespread condemnation of the tweet, Twitter deleted the message on Wednesday.
The platform said the message by the Nigerian President violated its rules.