Trump ‘congratulates’ Nigeria for suspending Twitter

Former US President Donald Trump and Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Former US President Donald Trump and Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari shake hands as they take part in a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Photo credit: File | Mandel Ngan | AFP


Former US president Donald Trump has “congratulated” Nigeria following its recent decision to suspend social media platform Twitter.

In a statement on June 8, Trump called on more countries to “ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech”.

“Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their President.

“More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech – all voices should be heard,” he said.

Trump, who had more than 60 million followers before his suspension, said banning Twitter and Facebook would bring about competition in the social networking sites.

Trump’s regret

The former US leader also expressed regrets for not taking action against the two sites when he was president.

“In the meantime, competitors will emerge and take hold. Who are they to dictate good and evil if they themselves are evil?

“Perhaps, I should have done it while I was President. But Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was,” Trump said.

Trump also made a veiled reference to his speculated 2024 presidential ambition by simply saying “2024?”

Twitter and Facebook had in January suspended Trump’s accounts indefinitely.

The two social networking sites claimed that he used the platforms to mobilise his followers to invade the US Capitol over the outcome of the November 2020 presidential election after he lost.

Facebook had also on Friday announced that it had banned Trump from its two platforms – Facebook and Instagram – for two years, effective January 7, 2021.

Facebook, in a statement by Nick Clegg, vice-president of Global Affairs, cited “severe violation” after the Capitol riots and that Trump’s accounts would only be reinstated if conditions permitted.

The former US president had also opened his own personal website to enable him continue reaching millions of his supporters.

Show sufficient remorse

Nigeria has insisted that it will not lift the suspension of Twitter until the microblogging firm shows sufficient remorse.

The American social media platform incurred the wrath of Nigeria when it deleted a tweet in which President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to treat insurrectionists and those trying to destroy the country in the language they understood.

In deleting the tweet, Twitter said it did not know President Buhari and the country he represented, a statement regarded as an insult to Nigeria and Africa.

Although representatives of US, UK and European Union met in Abuja and stood their ground that the suspension was a clog in freedom of expression, Nigeria warned it would not allow any social networking company to be used to destroy the country.

Nigeria said the suspension remained indefinite until the company shows remorse.

Since the suspension of Twitter’s operations on June 5, 2021, the company has not officially reached out to the federal government for dialogue.

Probe suspension

The House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Communication, Justice, Information and Culture, and National Security and Intelligence to investigate the circumstances leading to the suspension and the legality of the action.

However, various report say Twitter is already lobbying notable Nigerians to intervene, besides its tweets designed to ameliorate the situation.

One of such move is the deleting of hate tweets by secessionist leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, which the federal government had been comfortable with.

The numerous tweets runaway which Kanu used to direct his followers to kill Nigerian soldiers and police personnel have been deleted.