LAGOS, 4 February 2021 – Facebook has removed the account of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for repeated violation of rules on harm and hate speech.
Nnamdi Kanu’s account was blocked Tuesday shortly after it aired a live broadcast accusing Fulani herders of destroying farms belonging to IPOB members.
Facebook reaffirmed its belief in “giving people a voice”, but said it wants people using their platform to “feel safe”.
The platform accused Nnamdi Kanu of repeatedly posting content that breaks “Facebook’s Community Standards”.
A lawyer for Nnamdi Kanu, Paul Achalla, told the BBC that IPOB will appeal against the ban which does not affect Radio Biafra and other online platforms of IPOB.
IPOB reacted angrily to the ban, calling the action “baffling” and “petty” from a global social media giant like Facebook” which has reportedly allowed itself “to be used by agents of oppression in Nigeria to suppress the truth.
“We strongly condemn this attitude of Facebook Managers in Lagos and Abuja who collude with corrupt Nigerian government officials to suppress free flow of Information via their platform,” said Emma Powerful, the IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary in a statement.
“This unconscionable and reprehensible attitude amounts to partnering with perpetrators of human rights abuses and other criminal activities masterminded by the Nigeria State against innocent citizens,” the IPOB statement added.
One of the latest video posting on the IPOB leader’s Facebook account showed people attacking and killing cattle in herders’ settlements.
The attackers are suspected to be members of the Eastern Security Network, an armed self-defense group founded by the IPOB leader.
IPOB has issued what it calls an anti-grazing law, accusing Fulani herdsmen of “forcibly” seizing forests and converting “farms to grazing fields for their cattle”.
The Nigerian government outlawed IPOB and tagged it a terrorist organization in 2017.