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Nigeria to suspend Twitter 'indefinitely'

BY: BBC

Nigeria's government is suspending Twitter operations in the country "indefinitely", the country's information minister has announced.

The ban is due to "the persistent use of the platform for activities... capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence", a statement said.

Twitter said the announcement on Friday was "deeply concerning".

It comes just days after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari was removed for breaching the site's rules.

The statement from the Nigerian government did not mention the row over the removed tweet.

But Information Minister Lai Mohammed previously criticised the US social media giant's decision to take it down, calling it "double standards".

The site - which was still available to users in Nigeria following Friday's announcement - removed a tweet sent by Nigeria's 78-year-old president on 1 June.

It referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to treating "those misbehaving today" in "the language they will understand".

A Twitter spokesperson said at the time that the post "was in violation of the Twitter Rules. The account owner will be required to delete the violative Tweet and spend 12 hours with their account in read-only mode". The statement gave no further details.

And in a statement on Friday, the company said it was "investigating and will provide updates when we know more" about the Nigerian ban.

The government gave no details on how the ban would work in practice, or any explanation of how Twitter had undermined Nigeria's corporate existence.

Its statement also revealed that the national broadcasting regulator, NBC, has been told to start "the process of licensing all OTT [internet streaming services] and social media operations in Nigeria".