Nearly 24 hours after the Nigerian government announced a ban on the activities of Twitter, the popular microblogging platform has deleted ‘inciting’ tweets from Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group agitating for the Republic of Biafra.
In the controversial tweet, the IPOB leader vowed to unleash terror on Nigerian soldiers deployed to the South-east. He also used derogatory words to describe some government officials.
“It’s not for the living to respond to the dead but given the lack of reasoning prevalent in the #Zoo Nigeria, I wish to assure @GarShehu (Garba Shehu) , the Jihadi midget @elrufai (Nasir El-Rufai) & that Fulani lapdog Femi Adesina that any army they send to #Biafraland will die there. None will return alive,” Mr Kanu wrote via his handle on Wednesday.
Messrs Adesina and Shehu are both presidential aides while Mr El-Rufai is the current Governor of Kaduna State and a member of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC.
The tweet was deleted on Saturday with the social media platform saying it violates its rules.
The deletion was done a day after the federal government suspended the activities of Twitter in Nigeria accusing it of undermining the country’s corporate existence.
Announcing the ban on Friday, Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, ordered the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing social media platforms in Nigeria.
Following the ban, which was effected by telecommunication firms based on a directive by the government, Nigerians have been denied access to the microblogging platform and can only access it by bypassing domain restrictions through alternative mediums.
The suspension of Twitter was announced two days after Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial tweet about the civil war which some Nigerians found offensive.
Mr Mohammed accused the social media giant of bias against the president and deliberately overlooking inciting statements from the IPOB leader.
Despite the widespread criticism of the government’s action, the justice minister, Abubakar Malami, said the government would prosecute those using the app against the government’s directive.
But Twitter disclosed on Saturday that it is working to restore access to its platform.
“We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.”
“We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn”.
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