Nigeria’s minister of information, Lai Mohammed, has accused Twitter of bias against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The official was reacting to Twitter’s deletion of a tweet made by the President on Tuesday, threatening to rain ‘civil war-like attention’ on those promoting insurrection and attacking national assets.
“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,” the now deleted tweet posted via his official twitter account read in part.
The president, who fought during the civil war, has been criticised by some Nigerians who see his statement as a veiled threat against the Igbo ethnic group who suffered casualties during the war.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are currently seeking secession from the Nigerian state and this has pitched them against the Nigerian government.
Mr Buhari’s reference to the civil war caused controversy with the president’s handlers saying he was only referring to violent insurrectionists attacking public officials and institutions.
Twitter said the tweet violated one of its rules but failed to provide details of the particular violation.
However, the minister, while addressing journalists in the State House, said the platform chose ignore the inciting messages from the proscribed IPOB but was quick to enforce its rules on the president.
He said: “Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. If Mr President, anywhere in the world, feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views. 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?
“I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed. By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with,” Mr Mohammed said.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported how assailants attacked INEC facilities across seven states this year alone.
Majority of these attacks took place in the South-east region, this newspaper also reported.
Nigeria is currently going through one of its roughest patches yet with mounting insecurity, bloodletting and violence wracking virtually all parts of the nation.
The security outfits also appear overwhelmed having become victims of attacks themselves.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmud Yakubu, on Tuesday, said that, so far, there had been 42 cases of attacks on the commission’s offices nationwide, since the last general election.
Mr Buhari, in his last statement, also promised to provide all the commission needs to conduct the 2023 elections saying he has no intention of running for a ‘third term’ in office as being insinuated in some quarters.
The Nigerian constitution only permits two terms in office for presidents and Mr Buhari would be completing his second term in 2023.
Read Mr Mohammed’s full statement:
On Twitter deleting President’ tweets on Biafra
Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. If Mr. President, anywhere in the world feels very bad and concern about a situation, he is free to express such views. Now, 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? We are the one guilty of double standards. I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will directs his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed. By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with.
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 that was funding ENDSARS 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?
ALSO READ: Twitter deletes Buhari’s controversial tweet
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 Shiek Gumi whose comment that has been justifying Boko Haram actions has not been picked,
He 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… anyway what we’re discussing is different. We’re discussing Twitter. If you want to ask any question about Gumi or any other person, go ahead but please, be objective.
There’s so many people who have been spewing hate against Mr. President, against this governments. So if you want to comment be fair, don’t take a position which is not objective. If we were to pick up everybody today who had been abusing this administration, the detention centres will be filled up and you will be the first person also to talk about lack of tolerance, lack of rule of law. But I’m saying that you cannot compare anybody with Kano who boldly say, go and kill policemen. I think sometimes…policemen are brothers, they are our uncle, they are children. We kill them their wives become widows, their children become orphans. And what is the offence of these policemen? Because they are working to keep the country one. What about soldiers that are putting down their lives so that me and you can sleep? It is not acceptable anywhere in the world for anybody, anywhere, to stay in the comfort of wherever he is and now give directives to go and kill soldiers, go and kill policemen.
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