Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday 4 June suspended the social platform Twitter indefinitely. The decision, justified according to the Presidency by « activities of the social network that could undermine the existence of the Nigerian company », was taken after Twitter removed a post by the Nigerian head of state threatening separatists in the South-East of the country.
The American social network Twitter has removed a post by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, a day earlier, threatening separatists in the South East. On Friday 4 June, the Nigerian head of state suspended the platform indefinitely. « Many of those who are misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of life that occurred during the Nigerian civil war. Advertisement…Those of us…who have been through the war, will deal with them in the language we understand, » he had tweeted.
The tweet, which referred to the Biafran war (1967-1970), was deemed not to comply with the rules of Twitter, which bans any incitement to hatred, call to violence, threats … The Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, criticizes the network of Jack Dorsey for double standards on the sensitive issue of the South-East opposing the state and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement. The Nigerian federal government accuses the separatists of carrying out attacks on public buildings, with arson attacks on electoral offices and police stations.
The decision appeared on Saturday in capital letters on the front page of the Nigerian press after the government decided to ban Twitter until further notice. A sanction pronounced by the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, after the American social network dared to delete one of his tweets where he referred to the civil war is far from unanimous in his country. « It is important to remember that the President was not banned from Twitter, only one tweet from the President was removed. The reaction of this government is simply inappropriate and too strict. It sends very bad signals and goes against the interests of Nigeria, » said Frank Tietie, a human rights lawyer.
Following the Nigerian federal government’s decision, Amnesty International condemned the measure, calling on Nigeria to « immediately rescind this illegal suspension ». More recently, countries such as China and Turkey have been criticised for imposing similar restrictions on social networking platforms such as Twitter.