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Former US president Donald Trump has praised Nigeria for banning the social media platform Twitter, a move which prompted international condemnation.
Trump, who is subject to a lifetime ban from the platform, commended the Nigerian government for its stance in a statement on Tuesday. Trump once referred to African nations, of which Nigeria is one, as “s***hole” countries.
“Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their President,” Donald Trump said.
“More countries should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech,” Trump said, adding “Perhaps I should have done it while I was President”.
Nigeria announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter on Friday, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence,” Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said.
The suspension came days after the platform removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari and suspended the account for 12 hours.
The decision to delete the tweet was “disappointing” but not the only reason for the nationwide ban, said Buhari, who added that the ban was temporary but did not give a date for when it would be lifted.
Twitter was “deeply concerned” by the ban and would “work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world,” it said in a statement.
Nigeria joins the ranks of China, North Korea and Iran in issuing a ban on Twitter, while Uganda, Turkey and Egypt have suspended the app during elections or political unrest.
Twitter said that it was “deeply concerned” as access to the internet was “an essential human right in modern society” and it “will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate”.
Many groups, including the Nigerian Bar Association, threatened legal action if the government does not rescind the ban, while Amnesty International called for an immediate reversal and countries including the US, the European Union and Canada condemned the move.
Since the ban was introduced, Nigerians have been downloading virtual private networks (VPN) to access the site, while also turning to Facebook.
Trump was also indefinitely suspended from Facebook after the Capitol attack on January 6. Last Friday, the social media giant said his suspension would last for at least another two years.
Trump recently started a blog as a means of communicating directly with his supporters in light of the social media bans, but it struggled to generate engagement and he shut it down less than a month after it was launched.