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The suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government has divided opinions, with the majority describing the action as petty and unnecessary.

But there were signs of the government’s growing frustrations with its inability to influence the microblogging platform long before now.

Before the Nigerian government announced a ban on Twitter operations in the country, the microblogging platform was becoming its biggest irritant.

With a President who hardly speaks to the country’s citizens, Twitter became a major platform for Nigerians to vent their unhappiness with how the country is run and tell the president his inadequacies. This was demonstrated during last October’s EndSARS protests with netizens using Twitter to mobilize young people across the country to join the protest.

Unable to tolerate the barrage of criticisms of his governance style, President Buhari deactivated the comment section of his verified Twitter handle about a year ago.

Amidst this were two federal bills seeking to regulate the use of social media, which the government’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed consistently denied he had knowledge of.

Even as it denied knowledge of the bills, the government openly supported the campaign to regulate social media saying it has been abused.

However, it was the President who was flagged by the microblogging platform for violation of its rules following a tweet threatening to invoke the violence of Nigeria’s deadly civil war on the country’s citizens in the South East, a tweet which generated outrage among Nigerian social media users.

The President’s tweet was reported and Twitter took action deleting the tweet and imposing a 24-hour freeze on the @Mbuhari account, President Buhari’s verified account. A day later, the Nigerian government struck back, announcing a ban on Twitter operations in the country.

The public reactions since then have been on overdrive.

The action of the Nigerian President and government officials have exposed it to anti-democratic criticisms.

For instance, prior to the latest incident, President Buhari deliberately deactivated the feedback comment section on his Twitter handle making it impossible for Nigerians to reach him and becoming ever more elusive. This was unlike other political leaders who use social media to connect to their people.

Incidentally, it was the same Twitter that provided Buhari and his political party an open platform to freely express their critical political views and mobilize its supporters to win the presidential elections in 2015 and 2019. Some of the tweets made by notable persons close to the President at the time have been exposed to have been lies.

With Twitter becoming the first casualty of the Buhari administration’s growing intolerance for alternative views, many are asking which organization may be the next.