Angry reactions as Nigerian Government suspends Twitter operations ‘indefinitely’

*The Federal Government has announced the suspension of operations of the global tech giant ‘indefinitely,’ citing ‘persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence’

*The announcement made by the Nigerian Government that they have suspended Twitter’s operations in Nigeria is deeply concerning, says Twitter in a statement

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Following the tech giant’s earlier removal of a post from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account Wednesday, June 2, 2021, and instantaneous sweeping condemnation of same by the Presidency, the Federal Government has said it suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria ‘indefinitely’.

Mr. Olusegun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media) in the Office of the Minister for Information and Culture, in a press release issued via the Ministry’s Fed Min of Info & Cu @FMICNigeria Friday, June 4, 2021, titled: “FG Suspends @Twitter Operations in Nigeria”, said “the Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.”

The presidential aide stated that Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, announced the suspension in a statement Friday, June 4, 2021, in Abuja, FCT.

Mohammed, who though did not elaborate, nor did he provide details about what form the suspension would take, however, cited the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

The Minister said the Federal Government had also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in the country.

It is also recalled that Mohammed reportedly reacted angrily when Twitter chose neighbouring Ghana for its first African office.

He said the tech company had been influenced by media misrepresentations of Nigeria, including reports of crackdowns on protests against police brutality during the #EndSARS demonstrations across the country October 2020.

ConsumerConnect had reported that sequel to widespread condemnation by several Nigerians, and for violating the global tech giant’s rules, Twitter deleted President Buhari’s tweet where he apparently threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand.”

Buhari reportedly issued the threatening statement after receiving security reports from the Chairman of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in respect of the barrage of recent violent attacks on the Commission’s facilities across the country.

The President had tweeted that “many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigeria Civil War.

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

However, Twitter deleted the message Wednesday, June 2, 2021, sequel to widespread condemnation by cross-sections of Nigerians.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules,” the microblogging site said in place of the deleted tweet.

Twitter’s immediate response to announcement of suspension of operations

ConsumerConnect reports the global tech giant and social media platform Twitter was still working in Africa’s most populous country soon after Friday’s surprise announcement by the government, which did not give any time for the start of the suspension.

Nonetheless, in an immediate reaction to the development in Nigeria, the firm in a 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.”

Consumers react to suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria

The fact that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture made the announcement of suspension of Twitter operations in the country on the Twitter itself sparked outrage among social media users, where the social media platform is hugely popular.

Nigerian Social media users

In a flurry of reactions to the Friday’s announcement of suspension of Twitter operations, several Nigerians took to various social media platforms to express their views on the development.

Certain Honourable Oke Umurhohwo @OkeStalyf said: “You people in this regime have no semblance of shame. Anyway, you guys should just know that power is transient.

“Meanwhile, imagine using the platform you are banning to announce same announcement. Why didn’t you make the announcement on NTA?”

Felix Abrahams Obi- #UHC Advocate @MallamPelliks stated “shame don baptize una finish…as una use @Twitter to announce the suspension when you’ve @NTANewsNow and @radionigeriahq to use for your show shame, having used Twitter to rise to power in 2015.”

In his opinion, Akintunde Babatunde @olorunwababs said “using Twitter to announce suspension of Twitter is folly.”

PrimeOptimus of 9ja @MaziOlayinkaDan aslo posted his reaction on Twitter, saying in Yoruba language that “Ijoba APC yii, ijoba gbajue gbaa ni o.

“The same Twitter that gave you a platform to thrive and win elections in 2015/2019. Actually, what you intend is to suppress the citizens and throw everyone in the dark. Shame on you!”

Maceration @okey_adinde noted that the government “suspends this account. They can’t be using what they banned.”

Still, The Priory of Sion Flag of United States Flag of Nigeria @timi_wakanda replied to the suspension of Twitter operations in the country as he wrote: “Twitter really hit Buhari way below the belt. Buhari and his gestapo government want to silence Nigerians and freedom of speech, it will not work.”

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