On the evening of June 5, 2021, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) claimed that Nigeria is currently the only country in Africa where Twitter is restricted.
This claim was made on its official Twitter page, which reads: “BREAKING: Nigeria is currently the only country in Africa, where Twitter is restricted,” the tweet read.
BREAKING: Nigeria is currently the only country in Africa, where Twitter is restricted.
— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) June 5, 2021
As at the time of fact-checking this claim, it was discovered that it has generated 843 comments, 6,352 retweets,s and quote tweets while 8,816 likes.
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE CLAIM
The claim was made at the time when the federal government banned Twitter in Nigeria and has generated uproar within and outside the country.
On Friday, June 5, 2021, the Nigerian government suspended the operations of the US-based social media platform, Twitter in Nigeria following the statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) June 4, 2021
The suspension comes two days after Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that was widely perceived as offensive.
In that tweet on Tuesday, the Nigerian leader threatened to deal with people in the country’s southeast, who he blames for the recurring attacks on public infrastructure in the region.
Buhari was referring to the brutal two-year Nigeria-Biafra war, which killed an estimated one to three million people mostly from the Igbo tribe in the eastern part of the country between 1967-1970, in the now-deleted tweet.
The tweet was deleted on Wednesday after many Nigerians flagged it to Twitter and the platform said it had violated its policy on abusive behaviour.
Is Nigeria the first to ban Twitter in Africa?
According to Forbes, Nigeria is the only African country where Twitter is currently restricted, apart from other countries listed in the article which are Asian countries like China, North Korea, Iran, and Turkmenistan.
Meanwhile, African countries like Egypt restricted access to Twitter in 2011 during the height of the Arab spring protest while Uganda cut off social media during the country’s election this year.
The claim that Nigeria is currently the only African country where Twitter is restricted is TRUE.