FG accused the social media giant, Twitter, of double standards in its treatment of issues affecting Nigeria


It cautioned that it wouldn’t allow the microblogging site in order to dictate to President Muhammadu Buhari his views on domestic issues.

The accusation followed the choice of Twitter to delete a contentious article by Buhari on the Nigerian civil war.

The president in the post on Tuesday had warned against insurrection, saying that those fomenting trouble from the South-east is in for a rude shock.

Buhari, at a string of tweets on Tuesday through his confirmed Twitter handle @mbuhari had said: “Lots of these misbehaving now are too young to know about the destruction and loss of lives that happened during the Nigerian civil war. Those of us in the fields for 30 weeks, who travelled through the war, may treat them in the language they know.”

Buhari’s announcement, which was also tweeted, sparked outrage on the societal media with some Nigerians reporting it into Twitter.

But some said the president sounded firm in his warning against perpetrators of violence in the South-east.

But Twitter pulled down the tweet for breaking up its community norms.

Twitter, in a comment, stated: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules”

The national government, however, kicked against the decision with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, wondering why Tweeter would aim to a submission by the president on domestic issues but would ignore provocative postings from the leader of this proscribed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on its website.

The minister told journalist at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House, Abuja that Twitter’s mission in Nigeria is suspect.

He wondered if Twitter has deleted offensive tweets from Kanu.

He said: “The assignment of Twitter in Nigeria is very suspect. Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu was sending? Has it? The identical Twitter during the ENDSARS protests promoted tweets trying to raise funds for its ENDSARS protesters. It had been the first to close the account of former President of the US, Donald Trump.

But when a similar thing occurred at the Capitol, it turned into an insurrection. You see, we aren’t going to be fooled by anyone. We’ve got a nation to rule and we will do this to the best of our ability. Twitter mission in Nigeria mentioning those two examples is very suspect. What is their agenda?
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“How can Mr. President’s speech that anyone who is destroying infrastructure, who’s destroying police stations, who’s destroying INEC offices ought to be prepared for the consequences; is that inciting violence?”

While accepting that Twitter may possess its own rules, Mohammed explained that shouldn’t stop Buhari from expressing his views against a banned organisation like IPOB inciting people to commit arson and the likes in the South-east.

He stated: “Twitter may have its own principles, but it’s not the universal rule. If Mr. President, any place in the world feels really bad and worried about a circumstance, he is free to express such views. We ought to stop comparing apples with oranges. When an organisation is proscribed, it’s different from any other that is not proscribed. We are the ones guilty of double standards.

“I don’t see any place in the world where an organisation — a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, also will lead his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the army, particularly when that organisation has been proscribed.

“But I am saying you can’t compare anybody with Kanu who boldly say, go and kill policemen.

I believe sometimes…policemen are brothers, they are our uncle, they’re kids. And what’s the offence of these policemen — because they’re working to maintain one. What about soldiers which are putting their lives down to ensure you and I will sleep? It isn’t acceptable anywhere in the world for anyone, anywhere, to stay in the comfort of wherever he is and now give directives to go and kill soldiers, go and kill policemen.”

Asked why Sheikh Ahmed Gumi whose remarks had been considered as justifying Boko Haram activities has not been detained, Mohammed asked who made Gumi the go-between between authorities and Boko Haram.

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“Who appointed Gumi middleman between the government and Boko Haram? Listen, for me personally, unless you come and tell me this what Gumi said that’s inciting that you are comparing to Kanu… anyhow what we’re talking differs. We are talking Twitter. If you would like to ask any question about Gumi or any other person, go ahead but please, be the goal,” he added.

In addition, he said if authorities had resolved to pick up all those critical of the Buhari administration, the detention centres would have been full by now.

He explained: “There are so many people who’ve been spewing hatred against Mr. President, against this authorities. So if you want to comment, be honest; don’t have a position, which isn’t objective. If we were to pick up everybody today who had been abusing this government, the detention centres will be filled up and you will be the very first person also to discuss lack of endurance, absence of rule of law.”

Reacting to Buhari’s tweet, human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, called”insensitive” the civil war event from the president.

I am Igbo, a threat to the people is a threat to me. Any assault on the people is an assault on me personally. Any malignment of the people is a malignment for me personally. We are all Nigerians and no Nigerian is more Nigerian than the others.

“The authorities must ensure that it deploys its resources and its own devices evenly to every part of this country.

“I totally condemn the tweet from the president in which the president has been threatening the Igbo people. He’s threatening them with what happened in 1967. What happened in 1967 was a genocide; a crime against humanity and it must never be allowed to happen again.”

She added:”For a president to come out now and use 1967 as a yardstick to threaten people with what occurred then, together with the 30 months of gruesomeness, with the 30 weeks of heinousness, with the 30 months of atrocities which were meted out on human beings, on fellow brothers and sisters, on children in this country, is inhumane, it’s insensitive, it is callous, and it is unspeakable.”

Reacting in a string of tweets, Fayose wrote: “A president who cannot address his own people in time of catastrophe can certainly not be the sole tweeting on the crisis. Twitter should rather hold Garba Shehu, Lai Mohammed and co-workers (other people ) accountable.

“It is obvious that those with the president’s forces because of him don’t understand when and where to discontinue their power. Unfortunately, Twitter may not understand that Buhari is not the sole working the handle.”

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