The Nigerian government has accused Twitter, an American microblogging and social networking service of double standards on issues concerning the country’s domestic issues.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed also described the company’s role in Nigeria as suspicious. He was reacting to a recent message by President Muhammadu Buhari that was deleted by the social media company on Wednesday.
President Buhari’s tweet on Tuesday was reminiscing of Nigerians’ experiences during the civil war and warning to armed secessionists in the Southeast region of the country.
Speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, the Nigerian minister said Twitter has not been fair to Nigeria and had conveniently ignored inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and others.
According to the Minister, the social media giant also displayed the same bias during the #ENDSARS protest during which government and private property were either looted or destroyed but finds the President’s tweets offensive.
“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 President had said in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
Twitter has, however, deleted the tweet saying that the tweet violated the Twitter Rules.
But the minister said: “Twitter may have its own rules, they are not the universal rules. If Mr President, anywhere in the world, feels very bad and concern about a situation, he is free to express such views.
“Now, we should stop comparing apples with oranges. 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?
“They are the ones guilty of double standards. 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.”
By Abel Ejikeme