Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has accused Twitter of “double standards” after the microblogging platform deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet.
The minister said Twitter ignores “hate” messages from the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but was quick to enforce its rules on the president.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he had said.
Twitter said the message — which many Nigerians had reported — violated its rules.
It did not provide further details on the action, but its policy states that such measure is sometimes taken because “the behaviour violates the Twitter rules.”
When he addressed state house correspondents on Wednesday, Mohammed accused the platform of turning a blind eye on the activities of IPOB, which Nigerian authorities have declared a terrorist organisation.
The minister said: “Twitter may have its own rules, it’s not the universal rule. If Mr President, anywhere in the world, feels very bad and concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views. If an organisation is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.
“Two, any organisation that gives directives to its members to attack police stations, to kill policemen, to attack correctional centres, to kill warders, and you are now saying that Mr President does not have the right to express his dismay and anger about that?
“I don’t see anywhere in the world where an organisation, a person will stay somewhere outside Nigeria, and will direct his members to attack the symbols of authority, the police, the military, especially when that organisation has been proscribed. By whatever name, you can’t justify giving orders to kill policemen or to kill anybody you do not agree with.”
‘TWITTER IS SUSPECT’
Mohammed also questioned Twitter’s mission in Nigeria, saying the organisation’s style of operation makes it suspect.
“The mission of Twitter in Nigeria is very very suspect,” he said.
“Has Twitter deleted the violent tweets that Nnamdi Kanu has been sending? The same Twitter, during the #ENDSARS protests, that was funding #ENDSARS protesters.
It was the first to close the account of former President of US Donald Trump. And you see, when people were burning police stations and killing policemen in Nigeri during #ENDSARS, for Twitter, it was about the right to protest. But when a similar thing happened on the Capitol, it became insurrection.
“You see, we are not going to be be fooled by anybody. We have a country to rule and we will do so to the best of our ability. Twitter’s mission in Nigeria citing those two examples is very suspect. What is their agenda?
“How does Mr President’s speech that anybody who is destroyed infrastructure, police offices, INEC offices should be ready for the consequences… is that inciting violence?”
Buhari had posted the tweet while warning those “misbehaving in certain parts of the country”, particularly in the south-east where government infrastructures have been under attack.
Although IPOB continues to deny responsibility for the attacks, TheCable found out that killings in the region tripled after the secessionist group launched its militant arm.