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Nigerians Demand More Sanctions From Twitter Over President’s Deleted Tweets

Many Nigerians accused the president of divisive comments in an already fragile country on the brink.

Nigerians on Twitter, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 poured praises on the platform’s management for deleting a divisive tweet by Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, where he threatened to use force on ‘separatists’ fomenting violence in the Southeast “in the language they understand.”

On Tuesday night, Buhari tweeted a thread after a briefing with the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, over the spate of attacks on government institutions including INEC facilities in the region.

In his now-deleted tweet, the Nigerian president threatened to deal with separatists “in the language they understand,” citing the experiences of  the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 that killed millions of the breakaway Biafra citizens.

Buhari’s statement drew the ire of Nigerians who reported the tweet as inciting and divisive. It came a few days after the May 30 Biafra remembrance day.

In response, Twitter  said the tweet violated its rules.

Nigerians have been celebrating and commending Twitter’s owner, Jack Dorsey, for the action.

A Twitter user with the name Effiong John wrote that many people were happy after realising that Jack deleted the president’s tweet.

Another user with the name Ollykween and Twitter handle @olathrives congratulated Jack.

Other Twitter users urged the Twitter owner to suspend the Nigerian President as he did to Donal Trump, the former American President. 

Twitter not fair to Nigeria- Government responds

The Nigerian government, in reaction,  accused Twitter of playing double standards on issues concerning Nigeria’s unity.

A statement by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said Twitter has not been fair to Nigeria.

According to the Minister, the social media company “conveniently ignored inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and his cohorts.”

He said Twitter displayed the same biases it had during the #ENDSARS protest, where government and private properties were looted and set on fire.

He added that though the company may have its own rules, it did not translate that they are universal rules as the President was free to express his views.

The Minister insisted on the President’s statement, adding; “if an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.”

“Two, any organisation that gives directives to its members, to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centres, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr. President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that? We are the ones guilty of double standards,” he said.

“I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed.”

“By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with.”

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Aishat Babatunde

Aishat Babatunde heads the digital reporting desk. Before joining HumAngle, she worked at Premium Times and Nigerian Tribune. She is a graduate of English from the University of Ibadan.

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