Twitter is currently inaccessible in Nigeria; of course, as a result of the standoff between the government of the West African country and the microblogging platform. This has drawn widespread criticism since the country’s information and culture minister announced the ban a week ago. However, there is a minority voice that seems to be in support of the ban placed by Nigeria—Donald Trump.
The former US president has hailed the decision of Nigeria to indefinitely suspend Twitter—calling on other countries to do the same. This should not come as a surprise because Donald Trump had a running battle with the social media giant all through his reign.
Trump in a statement per Forbes on Tuesday, urged other countries to do likewise; lamenting a missed opportunity as he should have done the same while in office. Trump said the reason he did not ban Twitter while in office was because of outreach from Mark Zuckerberg.
In a statement congratulating Nigeria for banning Twitter, Trump said: “more COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook,” while predicting competitors to the two companies will “emerge and take hold.”
“Perhaps I should have done it while I was President,” claiming he only held off because Zuckerberg “kept calling” and “coming to the White House,” the ex-president said in the statement.
His statement would not go down well with millions of people in the West African country who see the government’s decision as attempt to suppress freedom of expression.
The government expressed its displeasure over Twitter’s decision to delete president Buhari’s genocidal tweet which generated a backlash last week. In his official reaction, the country’s information and culture minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed had accused Twitter of playing “double standards.”
Last Friday, the government went ahead to suspend the activities of Twitter; a step that further cast the government in bad light in the face of its citizens. The controversial tweets referred to the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War that took the lives of many citizens mostly people from the Eastern part of the country. Quoting the Nigerian leader, Buhari threatened to deal with “those misbehaving today” in “the language they will understand.”
The relationship between the Nigerian government and Twitter has never been rosy. In April, the Nigerian government did not hide its feelings when Twitter announced that its first African office will be sited in Ghana. Nigerians for instance were shocked to hear that a sister West African country was picked ahead of it.