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Twitter, a microblogging and social networking site, has had its activities in Nigeria banned indefinitely by the Federal Government.

Various images of Twitter logos

According to a statement from his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Adeyemi, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this on Friday.

However, as at the time of posting this story, our correspondent’s investigations revealed that Twitter is still operational in Nigeria, with users having access to the platform. The minister’s statement also didn’t say when the ban would go into effect.

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The PUNCH previously reported that on Tuesday, Twitter removed a post by Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Read also: India’s government goes after Twitter, WhatsApp, others

The attacks on police stations, jails, and the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, particularly in the South-East, were criticized by the President, who warned that those who encourage insurgency and violence in the country will be startled.

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“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and deaths that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War,” Buhari tweeted. Those of us who spent 30 months in the fields and lived through the conflict will speak to them in their own language.”

Some others were offended by the President’s tweet, believing he was being insensitive by comparing the civil war to it. His detractors complained the tweet to Twitter, and the microblogging service later deleted it with the message, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.”

Following that, Mohammed chastised Twitter for encouraging insurgency in Nigeria since last October’s #EndSARS protests, which resulted in the loss of lives and property across the country.

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In response, the minister announced in a statement on Friday that the Buhari government had suspended Twitter’s operations in the country.

THE PRESS RELEASE
FG Suspends Twitter’s Operations in Nigeria
The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday,
citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
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.
Segun Adeyemi
Special Assistant To The President (Media)
Office of the Minister of Information and Culture
Abuja
4 June 2021

The PUNCH previously reported that a lawyer and member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, Dr Daniel Bwala, said that Twitter deleted Buhari’s message out of malice but failed to erase the inciting posts of Indigenous People of Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu.

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Since last October’s #EndSARS demonstration, Bwala has accused Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey of promoting a process that could have led to the insurgency in Nigeria.

He also asked the Nigerian government to file an official protest with the US Congress, inviting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to explain his recent role in what is largely viewed as agitation for secession in Nigeria.

The Buhari administration has recently suggested harsher punishment for those who “misuse social media.”

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The Senate is now debating the Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Protection Act of 2019, sometimes known as the anti-social media bill.

It aims to make it illegal to use social media to spread incorrect or malicious information. Senator Mohammed Musa, a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, was the bill’s sponsor.

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