Nigeria “indefinitely” suspends Twitter

On Wednesday, Twitter removed a post by the country's president, Muhammadu Buhari, that threatened punishment for separatists in the nation’s southeast that authorities have blamed for attacks on federal property.

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Image rights|Twitter.

Nigeria’s government has decided to “indefinitely” suspend Twitter operations in the country according to information and culture minister Lai Mohammed,

In a statement released on Friday, Mohammed revealed that this had been done in response to “the persistent use of the platform for activities… capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

On Wednesday, Twitter removed a post by the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, that threatened punishment for separatists in the nation’s southeast that authorities have blamed for attacks on federal property.

“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,” tweeted Buhari, a retired general, referring to the 1967-70 conflict. “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he added.

A statement from Twitter however said the post “was in violation of the company rules. The account owner will be required to delete the violative Tweet and spend 12 hours with their account in read-only mode”. The statement gave no further details.

There were no details on how Nigeria’s ban would work in practice in Friday’s statement, or any explanation of how Twitter had undermined Nigeria’s corporate existence.

The statement also revealed that the national broadcasting regulator, NBC, has been told to start “the process of licensing all OTT [internet streaming services] and social media operations in Nigeria”.

Twitter is a popular communication tool in Nigeria. Activists have on several occasions used the platform to fuel major protest movements in recent years, and government criticism is rampant.

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