Nigeria suspends operations on Twitter, alleging the platform harms its corporate existence

Nigeria suspends operations on Twitter, alleging the platform harms its corporate existence

The Nigerian government, through its Ministry of Information and Culture, declared today that Twitter's operations in the country will be suspended.

According to the statement issued by Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and signed by his media aide Segun Adeyemi, Nigerians may be unable to use Twitter as a result of the statement.

The ministry released the following statement, "The Federal Government has suspended indefinitely the operations of the microblogging and social networking service Twitter in Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the presistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Comission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria."

The official announcement today is the culmination of events that have occurred over the last week. After President Muhammadu Buhari accused a sect named IPOB in the country's southeast of attacks on government buildings, Twitter removed posts and videos of him threatening to punish them. He did so by referring to incidents that occurred during Nigeria's civil war in the 1960s, which many Nigerians found distasteful.

Buhari, who served in the army against secessionists as the country's Head of State in the 1980s, stated that young Nigerians in the southeastern portion of the country were too young to remember the horrors of the war. He believes that the activities of today's secessionists are likely to lead to war and that it is, therefore, imperative to put a stop to them now.

He further added, “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”

Following multiple requests from Nigerians to remove the tweets, Twitter chose to do so, as well as because it broke the platform's abusive behaviour policy. Twitter also put the president's account on hold for 12 hours, putting it in a "read-only" mode.

Following Twitter's decision, Mr Mohammed criticized the social media platform, claiming that its decision was prejudiced and raising doubts about the platform's intentions in the country.

This is a developing story…

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