Nigeria’s government says it has “indefinitely suspended” Twitter’s operations in the country. “The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria,” the Ministry of Information and Culture said in a statement posted on its official Twitter handle on Friday.
The statement said the social media giant had allowed its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
The announcement comes just days after Twitter deleted a tweet by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari that violated its rules. On Tuesday, Buhari, in a tweet, threatened to punish those responsible for attacks on government buildings 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 78-year-old wrote, referring to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War which killed many.
Twitter deleted the post on Wednesday, and this was not well-received by Information Minister Lai Mohammed, who accused the American social media company of “double standards.”
Nigeria’s government is yet to give details of the ban. Its statement however said that the national broadcasting regulator, NBC, has been told to begin “the process of licensing all OTT [internet streaming services] and social media operations in Nigeria”.
Twitter on Friday said it was “investigating and will provide updates when we know more” about the ban. Meanwhile, Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria, has condemned the ban.
“This action is clearly inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international obligations. We are calling on the Nigerian authorities to immediately reverse the unlawful suspension and other plans to gag the media, repress civic space, and undermine Nigerians’ human rights.”
Twitter was still working in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and commercial hub Lagos on Friday, Reuters reported.