Twitter deletes Nigerian president Buhari’s ‘controversial Biafra’ tweet

President Muhammadu Buhari

The micro-blogging site, Twitter, has eventually deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet where he had warned to deal with some Nigerians “misbehaving” tampering with the state security architecture in “the language they understand.”

Buhari, in the tweet shared on Tuesday, had been frank about his submission, citing the Civil War experience, while he said he would deal with those “bent on destroying” Nigeria through illegitimate means.

But the social media firm said Buhari’s tweet violated its “abusive behaviour” policy, leading to a 12-hour suspension of his account.

The president’s tweet had promised a response to waves of attacks blamed on the Eastern Security Network (ESN), an armed group which emerged from the main pro-Biafran secessionist movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

In recent months, attacks targeting police stations, government buildings and electoral offices in south-east Nigeria, as well as the killing of a number of government and civil service officials, have been blamed on the ESN.

The controversial tweet read: “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”

However, some Nigerians who found the tweet offensive had, from Tuesday, mobilised on Twitter to have the tweet reported, which many did, after which Twitter deleted the message on Wednesday, after its widespread condemnation.

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On the post, Twitter after deleting only the controversial post on the thread, said the post violated its rules.

Buhari had in his Twitter thread warned those “misbehaving in certain parts of the country,” most especially in the country’s south-east where government infrastructures had been destroyed consistently.

He was reacting to the demolition of 42 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities across Nigeria, mainly in the South-East, as he promised that those guilty for the devastation would “soon be shocked out of their minds.”

“Many of those misbehaving now are too young to be aware of the havoc and deaths that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War,” he continued. Those of us who spent 30 months in the fields and lived through the conflict will speak to them in their own language.”

However, a section of Nigerians who moved against the President’s tweet, had singles out Buhari’s reference to the Civil War, citing the condemned genocide which saw millions of Nigerians, majority being Igbo killed, calling it a threat and human rights violations.

Consequent upon this, apart from calling on Twitter to pull down the post, the protesters also called on Twitter to suspend Buhari’s account, claiming the president’s tweet “expresses intentions of self-harm or suicide,” as stated on Twitter’s usage policy.

Meanwhile, Twitter has said that Buhari’s message did not breach its rules to the extent of suspending his account.

In a statement, Twitter said: “We’re writing to let you know that, after examining the available information, we didn’t detect a breach of our rules in the content you reported,” the firm wrote after numerous Nigerians complained about the president’s post and demanded that he be suspended from the platform.

“We appreciate that you let us know what happened,” Twitter said, adding that “we encourage you to call out again in the future if you identify any possible violations.”