President Muhammadu Buhari

Twitter has deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet in which he threatened to deal with Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.

President Buhari had in a tweet shared on Tuesday, evoked Nigeria’s civil war experience which was fought between 1967 and 1970, and noted that most of those “misbehaving” by burning electoral offices were maybe too young to understand the gravity of war.

“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” he said in the now-deleted tweet.

The tweet had widespread condemnations, with many Nigerians criticising the president, especially for making reference to the civil war in which millions of Igbos were killed.

Some Nigerians called on Twitter to suspend his account, claiming the president’s tweet “expresses intentions of self-harm or suicide”, as stated on Twitter’s usage policy.

However, Twitter on Wednesday deleted the offensive tweet.

Buhari's civil war tweet that was deleted by Twitter
It was the last in a series of tweets in which the president was responding to a briefing by the head of Nigeria’s electoral body, Inec, whose offices in parts of the south-east had been burnt down.


President Buhari had posted the message while warning those “misbehaving in certain parts of the country”, particularly in the southeast where government infrastructure and security agencies have been under attack.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian authorities have equally blamed the attacks on the armed wing of a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) – though it has denied involvement.

Ipob has been campaigning for independence for Nigeria’s south-eastern region, where the ethnic Igbo people form the majority.

More than 50 years ago, Nigeria descended into a brutal civil war when Col Chukwuemeka Ojukwu unilaterally declared the independent Republic of Biafra in the south-east.

President Buhari, a former military ruler, fought in the civil war in which more than a million civilians died in fighting and from famine.