Twitter has been suspended “indefinitely” in Nigeria, “for continued use of the platform for activities that could undermine Nigeria’s business existence,” a statement said.threaded on Twitter) from the country’s minister of information and culture. The move comes days after the platform threatening tweet deleted by President Muhammadu Buhari, who Twitter said violated its “abuse” policy.
Minister Lai Mohammed’s statement did not mention the deleted tweet, or what form the suspension would take.
The federal government has indefinitely suspended the activities of the microblogging and social networking service Twitter in Nigeria.
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) June 4, 2021
In Buhari’s deleted tweet, he suggested that he would punish separatists. “Many of those who misbehave today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of life that took place during the Biafra War,” he wrote. “Those of us who have been on the field for 30 months, who have lived through the war, will treat them in the language we understand.” Buhari was a major general during the Biafra war, which killed more than a million people.
Twitter’s Public Policy team said in a statement On Saturday it was “deeply concerned” and would work to restore access in Nigeria. Reuters reported: On Saturday, Twitter’s website was not accessible on some of Nigeria’s mobile carriers, but appeared to work sporadically on other carriers in Lagos and Abuja, two of the country’s largest cities.
We are very concerned about the Twitter blocking in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.
We will work to restore access for everyone in Nigeria who depends on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #Keep it on
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) June 5, 2021
“Suspending Twitter in Nigeria is just one more way of saying that people’s rights don’t matter what the state wants,” said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International in Nigeria. tweeted. “This is a dangerous precedent and should be mentioned for what it is.” Amnesty calls on Nigerian authorities to immediately reverse the suspension, “and other plans to silence the media, suppress public spaces and undermine the human rights of Nigerians.”
In April, Twitter opened its first office in Africa in Ghana, which some in Nigeria considered stupid. In the announcement, Twitter cited Ghana’s support for free speech, online freedom and the open internet as the reasons for its decision. Minister of Information of Nigeria said at the time that Twitter’s decision not to locate its African offices in Nigeria was due to media misrepresentation of the country.
According to a 2020 report by Amnesty InternationalNigerian authorities have “used repressive laws to harass, intimidate, arrest and detain human rights defenders, activists, media workers and alleged critics. Non-state actors have also subjected journalists to intimidation, harassment and beatings.”