ABUJA — Nigerian government on Friday suspended the operations of Twitter, two days after it accused the U.S. social networking company of double standards and supporting the secessionists in the west African country.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed announced in a terse statement that the suspension was indefinite, citing “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
“The Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT (Over-the-top media) and social media operations in Nigeria,” Mohammed said.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian government expressed doubts about Twitter’s mission in the country, after it deleted a tweet by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who issued a warning to troublemakers in Nigeria. In the deleted tweet, Buhari had made a reference to the country’s 30-month civil war in 1967-1970, warning “those who wanted the government to fail” to desist from fomenting trouble. “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigeria 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 tweeted Tuesday night.
Twitter deleted the president’s post Wednesday, following criticisms from some netizens. Mohammed, however, questioned the rule of Twitter.
“Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. If Mr. President, anywhere in the world feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views,” the official told reporters in Abuja, saying that the social networking service had overlooked the tweets of leading secessionists in Nigeria.
“When people were burning police stations and killing policemen in Nigeria during End SARS, a decentralized social movement, for Twitter, it was about the right to protest. But when a similar thing happened in the United States, it became insurrection,” Mohammed said.