On Friday, Nigeria announced an indefinite suspension of Twitter’s activities in the country, two days after the tech giant removed a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account for violating its rules.
Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Abubakar Malami has ordered a speedy prosecution of violators of the government ban on Twitter’s operations in the country.
“Mr Malami directed the DPPF [the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation] to liaise with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, National Communications Commission, NCC, and other relevant government agencies to ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay”, the statement said.
Nigerians reportedly started using VPNs to access Twitter after the government banned the platform’s activities in the country.
Earlier on Saturday, telecoms operators announced they had complied with a government directive to suspend access to Twitter indefinitely, just days after the platform deleted a tweet by the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, for violating its rules.
“The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria”, a spokesman for the Ministry of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, said in a statement Friday.
The statement also added that “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” prompted the ban.
Meanwhile, Twitter announced on Friday that it’s investigating the “deeply concerning” suspension of operations by Nigerian authorities, and “will provide updates when we know more”.
On Wednesday, Twitter removed a post from Buhari’s account that was flagged by users for containing what they deemed was a threat to deal with secessionists responsible for the recent spate of violence in the country’s southeast.
“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 read.
The country’s minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, subsequently blasted Twitter for the move, insisting that the Nigerian leader had a right to express his views on matters that affect the country.
by Zara Muradyan