Millions of Nigerian citizens woke up this morning and may have found themselves unable to log in to one of the world's most prominent social media sites, Twitter. These technical difficulties are not the result of an internet mishap, but rather these issues are deliberate. Government officials across the African nation took measures to bar the site shortly after it deleted a tweet from Nigerian President Muhmmadu Buhari.
Over the weekend, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari posted a series of tweets that appeared to threaten secessionists. As a result, Twitter asserted that Buhari had violated the site's "abusive behavior" policy.
“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Biafra war,” Buhari tweeted.
"Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Not long after the tweet was removed from the platform, Twitter was suspended "indefinitely" throughout the country. Government officials cited "the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence" as the reason for the ban.
Twitter said that it is "deeply concerned" by Nigeria's decision to ban the app in the country. Activists in the region have also expressed similar sentiments.
"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," a tweet from Twitter's public policy division reads.
“Suspending Twitter in Nigeria is just one more way of stating that people’s rights do not matter just what the State wants. This is a dangerous precedent and must be called out for what it is," Osai Ojigho of Amnesty International in Nigeria added.
Despite pushback from Twitter and Nigerian citizens, the Buhari administration remains steadfast in its decision. A CNN report indicates that the country is prepared to arrest and prosecute those who violate the ban by using a VPN to tweet.
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