The federal government has accused the social media giant, Twitter, of taking sides in the agitations of the proscribed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East Nigeria.
This allegation surfaced barely one hour after Twitter on Wednesday deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet threatening action against the people supposedly disturbing the peace of the nation.
According to Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “Twitter had not been fair to Nigeria”.
He said while the social media giant had conveniently ignored inciting tweets by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and his cohorts, displaying the same biases it did during the #ENDSARS protest, where government and private properties were looted and set on fire, all in the name of right to protest, it found the President’s tweets offensive.
“Twitter may have its own rules; it’s not the universal rule. 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 organization is proscribed, it is different from any other which is not proscribed.
“Two, any organization 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? We 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,” he said.
However, Buhari’s tweet on Tuesday boasted about the role he played alongside other Nigerian military officers in the Nigerian Civil War of 1966-70, during which over three million Igbo civilians were killed, many of them rounded up and shot at close range or starved to death.
The president’s tweet followed widespread attacks on public facilities by unknown attackers in the region, but critics said his comments were an escalation of violence and a promotion of genocide rather than an attempt to curb the excesses of criminals rampaging across the South-East.
The President, in series of tweets on Tuesday, via his verified Twitter handle, @MBuhari, had tweeted “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.”