The Presidency says the Buhari administration will continue to safeguard all citizens against social media’s disruptive and divisive influences.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
Shehu, who is reacting to the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets by Twitter and subsequent mixed reactions from members of the public, described Twitter’s action as disappointing.
He said the government’s action was not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of Buhari’s tweet.
According to him, the temporary suspension of Twitter is not just a response to the removal of the president’s post.
He posited that the president’s post was never a threat but statement of fact.
He said, “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. 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.”
The presidential aide, therefore, maintained that 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.
”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.
According to him, this is a basic principle of security services response world over, adding that 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,” he added.