President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday disclosed that the ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria is beyond the deleting of his post on the social media platform which was considered to have contravened Community Rules.
Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Saturday indicated that “the temporary suspension of Twitter is not just a response to the removal of the President’s post.
“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences. All the while, the company has escaped accountability.”
Buhari’s S.S.A. Media and Publicity, however, admitted that nevertheless, the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing. He stated that the censoring seemed based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria faces today.
Garba Shehu recalled that 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.”
he argued that “this and similar crimes which have been fueled by social media networks risk seeping into the fabric of an emerging digital culture.”
He was of the view that 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, Buhari’s S.S.A declared.
He indicated that President Buhari has, therefore, been warning against social media’s disruptive and divisive influences, adding that 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.
He argued that the tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact; saying that “a terrorist organisation (IPOB) poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.”
Buhari’s S.S.A., Media and Publicity explained that 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,” said.
He argued that 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, Shehu said.
“IPOB is proscribed under Nigerian law. Its members murder 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,” Garba Shehu declared.
Meanwhile, both President Buhari and Garba Shehu could not explain why the Buhari administration appears to have sympathy and solidarity for Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast Nigeria; bandits ravaging the northwest Nigeria, or killer Fulani herdsmen destroying farmlands, invading communities and killing innocent citizens, besides kidnapping.
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