The Presidency has cleared the air on the suspension of microblogging and social media platform ‘twitter’, in Nigeria.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, he stated that the temporary suspension of Twitter was not just a response to the removal of the President’s post but a measure taken by the government to truncate the spread of fake news and misinformation, which have become rife on the platform and even leading to real life violent consequences.
He said that “there has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences. All the while, the company has escaped accountability.”
He however added that the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing and showed that the platform’s censoring mechanism seemed based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria faces today.
“President Buhari has therefore been warning against social media’s disruptive and divisive influences and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full.
“The tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact,” he stated.
Talking about IPOB, he also added that “when the President said that they will be treated “in a language they understand,” he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.
“This is not promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists.
“IPOB is proscribed under Nigerian law. Its members murder innocent Nigerians. They kill policemen and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country.”
The spokesman finally added that twitter seems not to appreciate the national trauma of our country’s civil war and that Buhari’s government shall not allow a recurrence of that tragedy.