ABUJA – Nigeria announced on Friday that it had suspended Twitter activities indefinitely, two days after the social media giant deleted a post from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional secessionists.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the government acted because of “the platform’s continued use of activities that could undermine the existence of the Nigerian company.”
Mohammed did not specify what form the suspension would take or give more details on the undermining activities. His ministry also announced the suspension of Twitter on Twitter.
Asked about the details of the suspension, a ministerial adviser told Reuters: “Wait and see how things turn out.”
Twitter is investigating its “deeply concerning” suspension of operations by the Nigerian government, and “will provide updates when we know more,” the company said in a statement.
The Twitter website and app continued to operate in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and the Lagos Mall on Friday.
On Wednesday, the US tech company said Buhari’s post threatening to punish groups accused of attacking government buildings violated Twitter’s “abusive behavior” policy.
In April, the Minister of Information reacted angrily when Twitter chose neighboring Ghana for its first African office. He said the company had been influenced by false media statements about Nigeria, including reports of the crackdown on protests last year.
Protesters calling for police reform had used social media to organize, fundraise and share alleged evidence of police harassment. the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, tweeted to encourage supporters to donate.
In the wake of the protests, Mohammed called for “some form of regulation” on social media to fight “fake news”.
A spokesperson for Airtel, one of Nigeria’s largest mobile operators, declined on Friday to say whether the company had received government directives regarding the suspension.
MTN, the largest mobile operator, did not respond to calls and a message asking for comment.