Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this in a statement on Friday, June 3, 2021, citing the persistent use of the platform for “activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
Mohammed said the site was being used to divide citizens.
The Minister also said the federal government had given the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) the go-ahead to start licensing programmes for online media.
It was not immediately clear how the government intends to impose the suspension since the microblogging site, Twitter, has no physical presence in Nigeria.
The move comes just days after Twitter deleted a divisive tweet in a thread by Nigerian President Buhari threatening violence on pro-Biafran separatists in the country’s Southeast region.
The separatists have been accused of escalating attacks on government institutions and security formations in the Southeast region.
Buhari’s statement drew anger from Nigerians for referencing his role in the 1967 civil war also known as the Biafran war, which claimed as many as two million lives and made the region impoverished from economic devastation.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Biafra war,” Buhari wrote. “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” Buhari had said in the now-deleted tweet.
Twitter said Buhari’s tweet violated its “abusive behaviour” policy, after many Nigerians reported the tweet. This led to a 12-hour suspension of his account.
The Nigerian government had, in reaction, accused Twitter of playing double standards on issues concerning Nigeria’s unity.
Twitter had, in April 2021, chosen Ghana as its preferred location for its Africa headquarters.
The microblogging web site had explained its choice of Ghana was informed by the country’s status as a champion of democracy, a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet.
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