Just two days after Twitter removed a post by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to crack down on separatists, the government today indefinitely suspended the social media platform in the country. The Ministry of Information and Culture says it has banned the platform as it was being used for activities “capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence." The ministry used Twitter to announce the ban.
The President 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 now-deleted post was in relation to the 1967-70 Nigeria-Biafran civil war in which about 3 million people were killed. Twitter immediately removed the post and suspended the President's account for 12 hours claiming the post threatened to punish groups blamed for attacks on government buildings and violated its "abusive behavior" policy.
Twitter and the government of Nigeria have been at loggerheads for some time. In April when Twitter chose Ghana over Nigeria for its first African office, the country's information minister responded by saying that Twitter's choice of city was influenced by false information regarding the crackdown on protesters last year. In 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted with the #EndSARS hashtag asking his supporters to donate to protect protesters from police brutality in Nigeria.
Twitter's website and app were functional in Nigeria's capital Abuja and commercial hub Lagos at the time of the announcement. The company says it is investigating the suspension of operations by the Nigerian government and will provide updates when further details become available.