The Federal Government has accused Jack Dorsey and his microblogging platform, Twitter of being responsible for all the losses incurred during the EndSARS protest which led to the loss of lives and properties.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Tuesday when he featured on “Politics Nationwide,’’ a Radio Nigeria call-in programme in Abuja.
Mohammed alleged that Dorsey raised funds through Bitcoins to sponsor the EndSARS protest while his platform, Twitter, was used to fuel the crisis.
He said when he made the allegations earlier, Nigerians did not take him seriously until an online media outfit carried out an investigation and fact-checking.
The minister said the online publication confirmed that Dorsey retweeted some of the posts by some of the coalitions supporting the EndSARS protest. He said it was also confirmed that the Twitter founder launched fundraising asking people to donate via Bitcoins.The minister said Dorsey further launched Emoji to make the EndSARS protest visible on the microblogging site. He said Dorsey also retweeted the tweets of some foreign and local supporters of EndSARS.
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“If you ask people to donate money via bitcoins for EndSARS protesters then you are vicariously liable for whatever is the outcome of the protest. We have forgotten that EndSARS led to the loss of lives, including 37 policemen, six soldiers, 57 civilians while property worth billions of naira were destroyed.“164 police vehicles and 134 police stations were razed to the ground, 265 private corporate organisation were looted while 243 public property were looted.
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“81 warehouses were looted while over 200 brand new buses bought by Lagos State Government were burnt to ashes,’’ he said.
The minister said it was unfair to conclude that the operation of Twitter was suspended indefinitely because it deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s message.
He said the government was unambiguous that the action was taken because the platform was being used to promote the views of those who wanted to destabilise the country. Mohammed added that Twitter consistently offered its platform to promote agenda that were inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“Twitter has become a platform of choice for a particular separatist promoter. The promoter consistently used the platform to direct his loyalists to kill Nigerian soldiers and policemen, run down INEC offices and destroy all symbols of Nigeria’s sovereignty. Every attempt to persuade Twitter to deny its platform to this separatist leader was not taken serious,’’ he said.
The minister said the Federal Government has no apology to offer to those unhappy over the suspension of Twitter’s operations in the country. He said a country must exist in peace before people could exercise freedom of speech and fight for a source of livelihood.