Barely one week after President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement in a tweet threatening to deal with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in “the language they understand,” he has restated same warning to bandits and kidnappers in the North West.
“The problem is the North West. The same people, same culture, killing each other, stealing each other’s cattle, burning each other’s villages. As I said, we are going to treat them in a language they understand. We have given the police and military power to be ruthless, and you watch it and in a few weeks, you will see the difference,” he said.
The Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces who was speaking in Abuja, during an exclusive interview on ARISE TV’s Morning Show Thursday, also clarified his earlier position on dealing allegedly with people of the South East. He stressed that he has no regret whatsoever as his “statement about speaking language is very simple. It is meant for all criminals in Nigeria.”
Stating his position on IPOB he said, ”we will organise the police and the army to pursue them. We will respond to them in the language they understand, that is what we will do.”
President Buhari had on Tuesday last week, tweeted that: “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.’’
Thousands of Nigerians on Twitter reported the tweet as a ‘genocidal threat to the people of the South East;’ leading to the company’s deletion of the tweet. The Federal Government would later respond with an indefinite suspension of the micro-blogging platform’s operations in Nigeria on Friday.
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Although the FG cited persistent use of the social media network for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, the development sparked widespread outrage expectedly, bothering on the fundamental right to free speech within and outside the country.
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Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.