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The presidency has said that the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria was not just a response to the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, on Saturday, there has been a litany of problems with the microblogging platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences.
It added that all the while, the company has escaped accountability.
The presidency also noted that the removal of President Buhari’s tweets was disappointing.
According to the statement, “the President in his address at the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA in 2019 said, ‘the world was shocked and startled by the massacre in New Zealand by a lone gunman taking the lives of 50 worshippers.’
“‘This and similar crimes which have been fueled by social media networks risk seeping into the fabric of an emerging digital culture.
“‘Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.’
“President Buhari has, therefore, been warning against social media’s disruptive and divisive influences and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full.
“The tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact.
“A terrorist organisation (IPOB) poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.
“When the President said that they will be treated ‘in a language they understand’, he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.
“This is not promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists,” it added.
Explaining that IPOB is proscribed under Nigerian law, Shehu said it’s members murdered innocent Nigerians.
“They kill policemen and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country.
“Twitter does not seem to appreciate the national trauma of our country’s civil war. This government shall not allow a recurrence of that tragedy,” he added.