The government therefore suspended Twitter, which is used by millions of Nigerians, on Friday night, after a government official called the microblogging platform’s presence in Nigeria “very, very suspect.”
The ministry of information posted the announcement of Twitter’s suspension — on Twitter.
The millions of Twitter users in Nigeria who have been affected by the ban, expressed outrage at the blocking of one of the main outlets that they have to criticize their government and try to hold it to account.
Many circumvented the suspension by using virtual private networks to access the service, raising questions of how effective the ban will be.
Apparently incensed by defiance of the ban, Nigeria’s attorney general, Abubakar Malami, ordered prompt prosecutions of anyone found flouting it.
A spokesman for Mr. Malami, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said Saturday in a statement reported by Nigerian news media that prosecutors had been directed to “swing into action” and “ensure the speedy prosecution of offenders without any further delay.”
The statement did not specify how Twitter users would be identified for prosecution. Nor did it specify the punishment.
In the tweet deleted by Twitter on Wednesday, Mr. Buhari drew a connection between Nigeria’s civil war decades ago and attacks on offices of the national electoral commission by arsonists and gunmen.
“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,” he wrote in the now-deleted post. Those “who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Some saw his words as a threat of genocide against the Igbo ethnic group that is in the majority in Nigeria’s southeast. Twitter said the tweet violated its “abusive behavior” policy.
This is not the first time Twitter had deleted the tweets of a president. When Donald Trump was Presidents of the United States, lots of tweets were deleted until not that he has been completely banned from Twitter and other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Meanwhile unconfirmed reports by BBC pidgin say Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg is being rumored to have tweeted against the Twitter ban in Nigeria, allegedly saying the Nigerian president is not thinking right.
But BBC pidgin says their checks indicated that the said account used in sending that tweet in the name of Mark Zuckerberg does not belong to the multi-billionaire Facebook boss, and his image in that post was manipulated.