The Nigerian government announced in a statement Friday that it had suspended Twitter activities in Africa’s most populous country, two days after the social network suppressed a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The federal government has suspended, indefinitely, the activities of the microblogging service and social network Twitter in Nigeria”, says the Ministry of Information and Culture in this press release. At the end of the afternoon, the social network was still functioning in Nigeria, observed journalists from Agence France-Presse (AFP) in the country.
The statement was also posted on the ministry’s Twitter account.
FG Suspends @Twitter Operations in Nigeria https://t.co/7z5BQ0Mi3U
Asked by AFP, the ministry’s special adviser, Segun Adeyemi, confirmed that “The activities will be[aie]not suspended for an indefinite period ”.
Renewed violence in the South
On Wednesday, June 2, Twitter deleted two messages from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in which he threatened Biafran separatists. The social network believed that the head of state was breaking its rules of use.
The south of the country has been facing a resurgence of violence for several months. In one of his tweets, the president mentioned the Biafran war (1967-1970) and was clearly threatening: “Those of us (…) who have known this war, will treat them with the language they understand. “ Muhammadu Buhari, he experienced this war. This former general violently fought the rebellion. A million people have been killed in this conflict which has also caused appalling famine.
Immediately after the President’s tweets were deleted, the Minister of Information said: “Twitter may have its rules, but they’re not universal rules. If a president is extremely concerned about something, he is free to say so. He had notably accused the social network of tolerating the messages of the leader of a separatist group active in south-eastern Nigeria which, according to him, encouraged violence.