Petition to ban Reno Omokri from Twitter for inciting ethnic violence against Igbos garners 34k signatures

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Petition to ban former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Reno Omokri from Twitter for inciting ethnic violence against the Igbos has garnered over 34,000 signatures.

Omokri, an associate of former vice-president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar three days ago incited ethnic violence against the Igbos on Twitter while attacking the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi.

Obi who ran a joint ticket with Atiku in 2019 is seen as his main challenger. His campaign based on reviving the economic fortunes of the country has endeared him to millions of youths.

Omokri notable for personal attacks on Obi had tweeted: “While his Obidients are applauding that interview if you watch it with an unbiased mind, you see that Peter Obi considers himself a pilot and Kwankwaso a mere driver and substitute player. The people of Kano heard that. The North heard that. Others Nigerians heard!”

His tweet follows an interview with Mr Peter Obi, where he tackled Mr Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP.

Kwankwaso had said that the North will not vote for Obi because he is from the South East.

Obi responded, saying that comments like that of Kwankwaso are the reason why Nigeria has 100 million persons living in poverty.

Following Omokri’s tweet seen by many as an attempt to incite Northern Youths against the Igbos, a public campaign for Twitter to ban him has been launched.

The petition launched by Good Nigerian read:

On or about the 8th of January 2021, Donald Trump was banned from Twitter for writing tweets about the US election that posed a risk of inciting violence.

On the 6th of July 2022, @renoomokri made the following tweet in response to a TV interview made by one of the presidential aspirants in the Nigerian election.

“While his Obidients are applauding that interview, if you watch it with an unbiased mind, you see that Peter Obi considers himself a pilot and Kwankwaso a mere driver and substitute player. The people of Kano heard that. The North heard that. Others Nigerians heard!”

To prove that this was specifically targeted at the northern part of Nigeria and to emphasize his point, he retweet a version again in the Hausa language as follows.

“Kwankwaso bashine Dan takaran shugaban kasa da nake so ba amma shi ba “Direban mota” da yake so ya “tuka jirgin nijeriya” ne ba kaman yadda Peter Obi ya fada yau a Arise.Kwankwaso ya gina abubuwa da yawa har da gina mutane.Jahilci ne a kwatanta shi da Direba mota”

Given the historical relationship between the northern and eastern parts (PeterObi hails from the east) of Nigeria, both tweets from @renoomokri have a massive risk of inciting ethnic violence in the northern part of Nigeria and subsequent reprisals in the east, especially since Kwankwaso has a huge following in the North and Peter Obi has a following in the east.

Ethnic violence against the people of eastern Nigeria perpetuated in the northern part of Nigeria was one of the things that led to the Nigerian Civil war. Since then there have been multiple reports of ethnic violence in various parts of Nigeria. A lot of them are targeted at Ibos. In the east, some violence against northerners has occurred too.

For @renoomokri to make such tweets to his 1.7million followers given the history of Nigeria is not only reckless and dangerous, but it is also extremely callous to try and stoke ethnic violence for political gain. @renoomokri is very knowledgeable about Nigeria’s history so he knows this only too well.

It should be noted that this is not @renoomokri first tweet with the potential to incite violence in the North. Only a few weeks ago, he tweeted images of a Muslim prayer mat and insinuated that haram was being perpetuated by Obi’s supporters in the North. This tweet was also dangerous because only on the 12th of May, 2022 a student was burnt to death because she was accused of committing haram in the north.

@renoomokri should be stopped from continuing to use his Twitter influence to create the risk of ethnic or religious violence in Nigeria.

Twitter already has a precedent for banning accounts that try to incite violence. They banned Trump!

We are therefore calling for Twitter to immediately ban @renoomokri from its platform.

We are also calling on @BusinessInsider to rescind the “Business Influencer of 2022” award granted to @renoomokri. One comment that may result in ethnic violence is more than enough for @BusinessInsider to do this. @renoomokri has made multiple tweets in this regard.

The risk to human life and property is too great if he remains on the platform and he continues his tweets.