Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has declined to state when the suspension of Twitter operations in the country will be lifted.
“I will keep that to myself,” President Buhari said in a response to a question on when he would lift the suspension on Twitter, during an interview with Arise Television on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
The Nigerian government, on Friday, June 4, 2021, banned Twitter operations, days after the site deleted a divisive tweet by President Buhari.
Buhari had threatened to use force against secessionists particularly members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), suspected to be fomenting attacks on government institutions and security formations in the 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,” He had said in the now-deleted tweet, citing his role as brigadier general in the war.
“Those who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The tweet was deleted because Twitter said it violated its “abusive behaviour” policy, after many Nigerian users reported it as ‘genocidal statement’ against the Igbo, the dominant ethnic group in the southeast.
The Nigerian government has told Twitter it must concede to local licencing, registration, and conditions before it can rescind the suspension order.
Force on IPOB
In the Thursday interview, Buhari insisted on the use of force on IPOB members to combat the rising tensions in the Southeast.
“In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them,” he said.
He described IPOB as ‘a dot in the circle’ of calls for secession. The Nigerian President said IPOB’s separatist calls had been turned down by those in the South-south, adding that the group would not have “access to anywhere” even if they eventually secede from the country.
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