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Buhari’s civil war tweet a statement of fact. Its removal by Twitter disappointing – Presidency

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The Presidency said on Saturday the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial tweet on the Nigerian civil war by the microblogging platform, Twitter, was disappointing.

In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, the Presidency said Twitter did not appreciate the trauma Nigeria passed through during the 30 months civil war that ended 51 years ago.

President Buhari had earlier in the week warned troublemakers in the country that the Federal Government would treat them in the language they understand.

He wrote: “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 tweet was removed by Twitter 24 hours later for violating its rules.

The Federal Government in what looked like a retaliatory move suspended Twitter’s operations in the country.

The Presidency insisted that the government would not allow a recurrence of 1967 to 1970 civil war tragedy in the country.

It stressed that President Buhari’s tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact.

The statement read: “The temporary suspension of Twitter is not just a response to the removal of the President’s post. There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real-world violent consequences. All the while, the company has escaped accountability.

READ ALSO: FG’s move to prosecute Nigerians over Twitter unconstitutional – PDP

“Nevertheless, the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing. The censoring seemed based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria faces today.

“The President in his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2019 said ‘the world was shocked and startled by the massacre in New Zealand by a lone gunman taking the lives of 50 worshippers.

“This and similar crimes which have been fueled by social media networks risk seeping into the fabric of an emerging digital culture.

“Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.

“President Buhari has therefore been warning against social media’s disruptive and divisive influences and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full.

“The tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact.

“A terrorist organisation (IPOB) poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

“When the President said that they will be treated “in a language they understand,” he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.

” This is not promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists.

“IPOB is proscribed under Nigerian law. Its members murder innocent Nigerians. They kill policemen and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country.

“Twitter does not seem to appreciate the national trauma of our country’s civil war. This government shall not allow a recurrence of that tragedy.”

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