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Twitter is blocked in Nigeria after deleting a tweet from the president

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Twitter is suspended “indefinitely in Nigeria, for persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of jeopardizing Nigeria’s collective existence,” said a statement from the country’s minister of information and culture.

The decision came days after the platform removed a “threatening tweet” from President Muhammadu Buhari, a tweet that Twitter claimed to have framed in its “abusive behavior” regulation.

On Saturday, the Nigeria Attorney General’s office and the Ministry of Justice said it “would arrest and prosecute anyone who tried to circumvent the measure,” CNN reported, and instructed government agencies to cooperate with prosecutors to ensure a speedy trial of offenders. Several news reports reported that people in Nigeria were using VPNs to try to avoid the ban and continue to use Twitter.

Twitter is blocked in Nigeria after deleting a tweet from

In Buhari’s deleted tweet, he hinted that he would punish the separatists: “Many misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of life that occurred during the Biafra war.” “Those of us who were on the battlefield for 30 months, who went through the war, will address them in the language they understand.” Buhari was a major general during the Biafra War, which claimed more than a million deaths.

Twitter’s public policy team said in a statement on Saturday it was deeply concerned and would work to restore access in Nigeria. Reuters reported on Saturday that the Twitter site was not accessible by some Nigerian mobile phone operators, but appeared to be working sporadically in some of the larger cities such as Lagos and Abuja.

“Suspending Twitter in Nigeria is just another way to demonstrate that people’s rights don’t matter, only what the state wants,” tweeted Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria. “This is a dangerous precedent and must be fought for what it is.” Amnesty called on the Nigerian authorities to immediately revoke the suspension “and other plans to muzzle the media, crack down on civic space and undermine the human rights of Nigerians.”

In April, Twitter opened its first office in Africa, in Ghana, which some Nigerian insiders considered an affront. In a statement, Twitter cited Ghana’s support for freedom of expression, online freedom and the open Internet as the reasons for its decision. Nigeria’s Information Minister at the time had said that Twitter’s decision not to locate its Africa offices in Nigeria came about because of media misrepresentation of the country.

According to an Amnesty International report, Nigerian authorities “used repressive laws to harass, intimidate, arrest, detain human rights defenders, social activists, media workers and potential critics. Non-state actors have also subjected journalists to intimidation, harassment and beatings.”

Source: The Verge

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