The Federal Government on Wednesday accused Twitter of having a suspicious agenda against Nigeria after the social media network deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari evoking the tragic memories of the Nigeria/Biafra civil war with a threat to deal heavily with “those misbehaving” in the Southeast “in the language they understand”.
Buhari had tweeted on Tuesday: “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”.
Twitter has now deleted the posts citing violation of its rules, a development that Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has condemned as being biased.
Speaking to the press at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Mohammed wondered why Twitter would delete President Buhari’s post without doing same to the inciting ones that had been posted by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He alleged that the role of Twitter in Nigeria was suspect, since it had backed opponents of government during the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
According to the Minister: “Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. We should stop comparing apples with oranges. 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?
“The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very, very suspect. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending? Has it? The same Twitter during the #EndSARS protests, was funding the protesters.
“It was the first to close the account of former president of US, Trump. And you see, when people were burning police stations and killing policemen in Nigeria during ENDSARS, for Twitter, it was about the right to protest. But when a similar thing happened on the Capitol, it became insurrection.
“You see, we are not going to be be fooled by anybody. We have a country to rule and we will do so to the best of our ability. Twitter mission in Nigeria citing those two examples is very suspect. What is their agenda?
“How does Mr. President speech – that anybody who is destroyed infrastructure, who is destroying police offices, who is destroying INEC offices – should be ready for the consequences, is that inciting violence?”
Asked why Sheik Gumi whose comment that has been justifying Boko Haram actions, has not been arrested, Mohammed said “you are gain mixing things. If an organisation is proscribed abinitio, that organization does not exist in that country. There are many Nigerians, for instance, who have been inciting people against government.
“Who appointed Gumi middleman between government and Boko Haram? Listen, for me, unless you come and tell me this what Gumi said that is inciting that you are comparing to Kanu….”