When on October 14, 2020, I saw the tweet of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey “Donate via #Bitcoin in support of #EndSARS”, I knew that he would eventually face problems with the Nigerian authorities. No government in the world would have given him the upper hand in calling for donations to a group that shook the foundation of his power.
In the opinion of the Nigerian government, the tech maker helped to alleviate the country’s internal problems by taking advantage of his global opportunity to solicit money from protesters, who not only sang “EndSARS” and “Buhari must go” on the streets of Lagos. There are one million honorable ways for the government to do this, but the Nigerian government has not found one.
As a result, on June 2, Twitter withdrew a tweet written by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 1960 civil war in southeastern Nigeria and the threat of violence, with a response from Nigerian authorities. On June 4, the Ministry of Information announced the suspension of the country’s media.
Make no mistake: Buhari’s tweet was at the core – not the cause – of the Nigerian government’s outrage on Twitter. His real problem on the platform is his role as the obvious weapon in the fight for the Buhari government. This culminated in the #EndSARS exhibition, perhaps the most prestigious exhibition in Nigeria in recent history.
Obviously, the demonstrations would not have happened without Twitter. It was a platform where police victims shared their pain in the hands of black men from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Since I had spent so many days in the police station and locked myself in, I knew that many of these stories were true.
In early October 2020, news of SARS officers harassing Nigerian youths and at one point, killing a teenager, took place on Twitter and sparked outrage across the country. This led to a temporary outburst of victims of violence, which angered many and forced many to take to the streets to demand the removal of SARS.
The biggest secret in Nigeria related to the protests was that the government recruited terrorists to attack protesters and infiltrate and insult their movement. It has been reported that government officials worked hard to close the dead and wounded during the October 20 war that sparked the protests.
Eight months after the show, Twitter was the only platform where the events were repeated frequently, sometimes on the 20th day of the month but often for no apparent reason. Twitter remains a thorn in the side of the Nigerian government, a place of eternal remembrance of the blood shed at Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos on October 20, 2020.
Speaking recently after Twitter deleted Buhari’s tweet, Information Minister Lai Mohammed criticized a social networking site for “giving money to #EndSARS” protesters. He also criticized Twitter for failing to remove the burning tweets from Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Biafran Jewish Movement (IPOB), which calls for an independent state (Biafra) in southeastern Nigeria.
But Mohammed ignored Buhari’s tweet. In addition, Kanu’s separatist tweets are nothing compared to the wealth of a president who threatens his citizens with the help he received in the civil war commemorated by the genocide in southeastern Nigeria.
Buhari’s government exists – he says – according to the people’s law; Kanu exists because of the failure of the government. As a result, the two parties cannot be given the same level of publicity. That this government will not see the division of Buhari’s tweet is confusing.
According to IPOB, it is a problem that is self-inflicted. Twitter only serves to encourage growing grievances. Many of those who have said that Buhari’s embarrassing tweet has no sympathy for IPOB, but are concerned with the interest shown by the government and Kanu and his people which threaten and threatens Nigeria’s existence.
In 2017, the Buhari government called on the military to make IPOB a “terrorist group” in violation of the country’s terrorist law, which states that only a judge can say that, before acting in accordance with the law. Four years later, it no longer advocates terrorists as terrorist groups, although it was named in 2015 by the Global Terrorism Index as the fourth most dangerous group in the world after Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Shabab.
A few days ago, the military killed at least 25 people and destroyed homes, shops and palaces in a town in southwestern Nigeria, but they did not retaliate because of Buhari’s pastoral favor, being the only one. Bandits threaten Northern Nigeria; since December, they have arrested nearly a thousand people and their unofficial spokesman Sheikh Abubakar Gumi often burns a picture of himself in a newspaper. However, in the Nigerian government, assassins and kidnappers are not criminals.
Minister Mohammed’s claim that Twitter has become a platform for “events that could undermine cooperation in Nigeria” is plausible. The biggest threat to Nigeria is the lack of authoritarian regime.
Nigerians are hungry. Naira continues to weaken. Purchasing power is dwindling. You miss the bite. Health care is in short supply. Pastors, bandits, and criminals kill innocent people with impunity.
Solve these problems and see Kanu disappear. No one will listen to him if he has food on their table. No one will agree with the June 12 protests, which some security groups want to oppose the ban on Twitter, if they are still healthy and well-functioning. June 12 is a significant day in the history of Nigeria because it was the day of Nigeria’s most obvious and wise election, which took place in 1993. The results were overturned by the dictator Ibrahim Babangida at the time.
Good governance is the key to maintaining unity in Nigeria. Twitter, which Buhari used in 2015 to urge Nigerians to denounce the failure of Jonathan’s government, will not be an emergency in 2021. expelled waste.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor of Al Jazeera.