Buhari has 99 questions, but Twitter is not one of the social media
On October 14, 2020, when I saw Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s tweet “Help #EndSARS via #Bitcoin donation”, I knew he would eventually run into trouble with the Nigerian authorities . No government in the world would appreciate him for inviting donations to support a movement that shakes its power base.
From the perspective of the Nigerian government, the founder of the tech giant used his huge global influence to raise funds for the protesters and helped exacerbate the country’s internal crisis. The protesters not only chanted “end SARS” on the streets of Lagos. , Also chanted “Buhari must leave.” The government has a million and one respectable ways of responding, but the current Nigerian government has not found it.
Therefore, when Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 2, which mentioned the civil war and threats of violence in southeastern Nigeria in the 1960s, the Nigerian authorities responded quickly. On June 4, the Ministry of Information announced the suspension of the country’s social media platforms.
There is no doubt that the tweets deleted by Buhari are the culmination of the Nigerian government’s anger on Twitter, not the fuse. The real problem with the platform is its status as the most important tool for civic attacks on Bukhari’s mediocre government. This peaked during the #EndSARS protest, which may be the most organic protest in Nigeria’s recent history.
Of course, without Twitter, that protest would not have happened. On this platform, victims of police brutality share their pain in the hands of the infamous Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in black. After spending a few days in a police cell and a prison undercover, I know that most of these stories are true.
In early October 2020, news about SARS officials harassing young Nigerians and killing a young man became popular on Twitter and caused anger across the country. This triggered a continuous emergence of similar experiences shared by victims, aroused public outrage, and prompted many people to take to the streets to demand the dissolution of SARS.
Nigeria’s biggest open secret about the protests is that the government hired mobs to attack the protesters and infiltrate and vilify their movement. For the record, state agents put a lot of effort into covering up the casualties that caused the protest movement to quell in the military raid on October 20.
Eight months after the demonstration, Twitter is still the only platform where these events are occasionally revisited, sometimes on the 20th of each month, but often without any specific reason. Twitter is still a thorn in the eye of the Nigerian government. This is the eternal memorial site of bloodshed at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos on October 20, 2020.
Soon after Twitter deleted Buhari’s tweet, Information Minister Lai Muhammad accused the social media platform of “funding #EndSARS protesters”. He also criticized Twitter for failing to delete inflammatory tweets by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Biafra Separatist Indigenous Peoples (IPOB), calling for the establishment of an independent state (Biafra) in southeastern Nigeria.
But Muhammad ignored the fact that Buhari’s tweets were widely reported by the public. In addition, Kanu’s tweets inciting secession are nothing compared to the president’s threats to citizens during the civil war in which people in southeastern Nigeria suffered genocide.
The existence of the Buhari government is-said to be-based on the demands of the people; Kanu exists because of the failure of the government. Therefore, the two parties cannot bear the same level of responsibility to the public. This government cannot see Buhari’s divergence in tweets, which is very disturbing.
As far as IPOB is concerned, this is a self-made problem. Twitter only acts as an amplifier for growing dissatisfaction. Many people who reported on Buhari’s offensive tweets were not sympathetic to IPOB, but they worried that the government’s obsession with Kanu and its people would be at the expense of a more obvious and devastating threat to Nigeria’s survival.
In 2017, the Buhari government asked the military to declare IPOB a “radical terrorist organization”, which violated the country’s Terrorism Act, which stipulates that only a judge can make such a statement before acting in accordance with the law. Four years later, even though militants in the herders community were designated by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015 as the fourth deadliest terrorist organization in the world after Boko Haram, ISIS, and Al-Shabaab, it still has not plucked up the courage to do so Declare the militants in the herder community to be a terrorist organization. .
Just a few days ago, militants killed at least 25 people and razed houses, shops and a palace in a small town in southwestern Nigeria. But because Buhari was clearly biased towards herders, they were not terrorists because of him. I am a herdsman. The bandits are intimidating northern Nigeria; they have kidnapped nearly 1,000 people since December, and their unofficial spokesperson, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, often promotes their image in the media. Nevertheless, for the Nigerian government, neither the killer nor the kidnapper is a terrorist.
Minister Mohammed’s claim that Twitter has become a platform for “activities that can undermine the survival of Nigerian businesses” is incredible. The biggest threat facing Nigeria is the lack of inspiring governance.
Nigerians are hungry. Naira continued to weaken. People’s purchasing power is declining. Unemployment is biting. Lack of quality medical care. Herdsmen, bandits and militants are killing people unscrupulously.
Solve these problems, and then watch Kanu disappear into obscurity. If there is food on their table, no one will listen to him. No one will participate in the demonstrations on June 12. If they are healthy and paid for their work, some militant groups have called for protests against the Twitter ban. June 12 is an important day in Nigeria’s history because it was the freest and fairest election held in Nigeria in 1993. The election result was abolished by the then Ibrahim Babangida dictatorship.
Good governance is the ultimate secret to ensure the survival of Nigerian businesses. Buhari used Twitter in 2015 to call on Nigerians to condemn the failure of the Jonathan administration, but it will not suddenly become a problem in 2021. People who currently use it to criticize his failure should not deprive it-unless, of course, he is saying that we can treat his remaining two years in office as a waste of acceleration.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.