It’s early evening on Friday, June 4, and the Minister of Information and Culture in Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has just dropped a bombshell: Twitter is suspended in Nigeria indefinitely. The statement announcing the ‘Twitter ban’ was published on Twitter. Such was the irony.
Three days prior, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari had addressed the nation in the heat of heightened insecurity and secessionist agenda, coupled with worsening economic malaise.
However, much of the statement, which was also tweeted via President Buhari’s verified Twitter handle, was overshadowed by a strange decision to use a painful, bloody part of Nigeria’s history as a warning shot.
It didn’t take long before Twitter deleted that tweet and temporarily suspended President Buhari’s account, citing an infringement on Twitter user rules prohibiting content that threatens or incites violence.
In retaliation, apparently, the Nigerian government declared an indefinite ban on Twitter. And Lai, who is quite the unpopular figure given his history of obfuscatory tactics and campaigns for social media muzzling, was the bearer of the news.