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Twitter expresses “deep concern” over indefinite suspension from Nigeria, bars IPOB leader- Wole Soyinka not surprised

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Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, an octogenarian

Twitter has expressed “deep concern” over the federal government’s decision to suspend its operations in Nigeria.

Sarah Hart, Twitter’s Senior Policy Communications Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, who made this known in a media statement, said the company is investigating the development.

The statement said, “The announcement made by the Nigerian Government that they have suspended Twitter’s operations in Nigeria is deeply concerning”.

“We’re investigating and will provide updates when we know more,” the statement said.

Recall that the federal government suspended Twitter’s operations in a statement on Friday.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, said the government was forced to act because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, urges PMB to learn from Donald Trump

Professor Wole Soyinka has said that if President Muhammadu Buhari has a problem with the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, then he should sort it out privately.

Reacting on Friday to the ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government, the Nobel Laureate said the move is a “petulant gesture” that is “unbecoming of a democratically elected president”.

Soyinka noted that a Twitter ban in the country is a “technical issue Nigerians should be able to work their way around”.

Mr. Jack Dorsey, CEO Twitter

He added that “the field of expression remains wide open, free of any dictatorial spasms”.

Below is the brief communique as put out by the Nobel Laureate.

“Heard the news of Buhari’s ban on Twitter an hour or so after sending off TO SHOCK AND AWE to the print media. Kindly add my total lack of surprise at this petulant gesture, unbecoming of a democratically elected president.

If Buhari has a problem with Twitter, he is advised to sort it out between them personally, the way Donald Trump did, not rope in the right to free expression of the Nigerian citizen as collateral damage.

In any case, this is a technical problem Nigerians should be able to work their way around. The field of free expression remains wide open, free of any dictatorial spasms!” – Wole SOYINKA, Professor. Source: Channels TV


The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the indefinite suspension of microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, from Nigeria in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, and signed by Mr. Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

The government of Nigeria cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence as the reason for its action.

The Minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.

It would be recalled that Twitter had on Wednesday taken down President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet on dealing with those fomenting trouble in some parts of the country.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister

Sharing his civil war experience when he hosted Prof Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Buhari had said those misbehaving would be treated in the language they understand.

The president said those plotting the downfall of his administration will soon get the shock of their lives.

Yakubu led a delegation to Buhari over the attacks on INEC offices in the South-East.
After the meeting, @MBuhari, the president’s handle, tweeted about the discussion the president had with the INEC delegation.

“I received a briefing today from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on the series of attacks on their facilities nationwide. These attacks are totally unacceptable, and we will not allow those behind them to achieve their evil objectives.

“I have assured INEC that we will make available to them everything they need to operate efficiently, so that no one will say we don’t want to go, or that we want a third term. There will be no excuse for failure. We will meet all of INEC’s demands.

“In the area of security, we have changed the Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General, and we are demanding that they rise fully to the challenges confronting us. There must be zero tolerance for all those bent on destroying our country by promoting crime and insurrection!

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

But there was a massive outrage on Twitter as many users accused the president of threatening a section of the country. They also asked Twitter to sanction the president, whom they accused of bias.

On Wednesday, Twitter flagged one of the tweets, saying it violates its rules.

The Federal Government immediately reacted, expressing its suspicion of the activities of the social media giant, Twitter, following its decision to delete President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet referencing the civil war.

Reacting to the development on Wednesday, the Minister of Information and Culture accused Twitter of a double standard. Mohammed said the social media giant had conveniently ignored inciting tweets by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and his cohorts.

He said Twitter ignored Kalu’s remarks that encouraged the killing of Police personnel and the show of similar biases during the ENDSARS protest where government and private properties were looted and set on fire, considering its human rights.

Mohammed, who wondered why the organization now found President Buhari’s tweet offensive, said Twitter’s role is suspicious and Nigeria will not be fooled.

Twitter Bars IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB Leader

Meanwhile, about 24 hours after the Nigerian government announced a ban on the activities of Twitter, the popular microblogging platform has deleted ‘inciting’ tweets from Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group agitating for the Republic of Biafra.

In the tweet, the IPOB leader vowed to unleash terror on Nigerian soldiers deployed to the South-east. He also used derogatory words to describe some government officials.

Some of Kanu’s tweets although now scrapped, read thus; “It’s not for the living to respond to the dead but given the lack of reasoning prevalent in the #Zoo Nigeria, I wish to assure @GarShehu (Garba Shehu) , the Jihadi midget @elrufai (Nasir El-Rufai) & that Fulani lapdog Femi Adesina that any army they send to #Biafraland will die there. None will return alive,” Mr Kanu wrote via his handle on Wednesday.

Twitter had equally imposed a ban on Nnamdi Kanu’s account with it

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