Twitter deleted a comment on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s account on Wednesday for violating his rules, after discussing the country’s civil war amid recent unrest.
Buhari, a former general, made a statement on Tuesday referring to recent violence in the southeast, where officials blamed separatists for attacks on police and election offices.
Half a century ago, a million people died in a 30-month civil war after separatist generals declared an independent region for the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria.
“Many of those who behave badly today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of life during the Nigerian civil war,” his tweet said. “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who have been through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Twitter deleted the remark, noting that it had broken its rules.
A similar remark still appeared on the Nigerian presidency’s official Twitter account.
Buhari’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed responded by saying that while Twitter has its own rules, the president has the right to comment on the situation in Nigeria.
He accused Twitter of ignoring messages from Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the banned indigenous people of Biafra, or separatist group IPOB, which he said encouraged violence.
Mohammed also referred to the appeal by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last year for bitcoin donations to last year’s #EndSARS protests in Nigeria against police brutality.
“We have a country to rule and we will do our best,” Mohammed told reporters. “The Twitter mission in Nigeria citing these two examples is very suspicious. What is their agenda?”
South-eastern Nigeria has seen a recent upsurge in attacks, with around 130 police and security officers killed and around 20 police stations attacked this year, local media reported.
Election offices were also attacked.
IPOB, which campaigns for a separate Igbo state, denied that its paramilitary wing, Eastern Security Network, was behind the violence, accusing the government of a smear campaign.
The streets of southeast Nigeria were deserted earlier this week as the former breakaway region commemorated the more than one million people who died in Biafra’s war and famine half a century ago.
Calls for independence and other regionalist demands have resurfaced since Buhari, a former military ruler and northern Peul, became president in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019.