’s Blogger receives death threats over a tweet: Nigeria’s politics of blood

Published:29 Jan, 2013

A Nigerian blogger @zebbook on Twitter, had in the wake of the Nigerian government’s predictable reaction to citizens who in anyway pick holes in the mess that is their style of governance, had tweeted thus “If Jesus criticizes Jonathan’s govt, Maku/Abati/Okupe will say he slept with Mary Madgalene.” This tweet was a direct response to the Goodluck Jonathan led government’s reaction to a lecture delivered by former World Bank Vice President (Africa) Oby Ezekwesili where she highlighted the extent of waste and corruption under the administration. The government in reacting called her out and was just short of calling her a thief. This reaction is nothing new as it is the modus operandi of a system that obsessively refuses to take corrections to better itself.

The uproar generated by @zebbook ‘s tweet is well documented but it has since gone out of control. He has been receiving death threats and a caller actually read out his address to him saying they’d come kill him. It has to be said that the tweet was just another tweet until a politician Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, a constant target and an obsession of the Jonathan government retweeted same. If you are not a Nigerian you’d wonder how this could become a controversy but in Nigeria people get killed for their religious beliefs. Three different numbers have since called to threaten @zebbook and his family. The calls were made yesterday and continued today with the calls now made through “private numbers.” We will get to the root of this.

As I speak, @zebbook has been chased from his house even as Nigeria’s dirty bloody politics gets even bloodier. His tweet was saying anyone, no matter how highly placed or clean would be derided, cursed and abused if the person ever seeks to correct the style of governance and gargantuan state of corruption under the Jonathan administration. This is why @zebbook ‘s life is in danger and is the reason why freedom and liberty remain under threat in Nigeria’s democratic caricature.

A report has been made to the police.

  • Gafar Titilope

    Better the details of the perpetrators are revealed to the whole world immediately.
    So sad when people react out of ignorance could react so far by not getting the contextual meaning of a tweet before spitting fire.
    God help Nigeria.

  • sure

    So sad it has come to this be it that I am not suprised though. As much as I support religious tolerance I was against such tweet and retweet plus indomitable voltrons that emanated because it does not promote religious tolerance in any way in a country of volatility hitherto practising blasphemy law(section204 of Nigerian criminal Code). The truth is that even a true muslim will not tweet or retweet that about jesus and this can cause confusion anywhere so let no one call nigeria or government. Let us forget since those accused have apologised to the offended. The voltrons should continue from where they quit on such analogy if they feel its cool.

  • Osa

    NCC forced us to register our SIM cards, so finding the people threatening @zebbook shouldnt be rocket science. now has the onus to expose that person, you blew the whistle except its a false alarm!

  • Samson

    Let tell him about our Lord n savior Jesus christ,Jesus came for the sinner not for d save. Jesus d same today n forever.

  • Slim

    Kai!!! Nigeria is far from becoming a United Nation…see how we have all turned this into religion. Haba!

  • Emma

    I wonder why Nigerians, at the slightest opportunity resort to name calling and mud-slinging. Someone is raising alarm about threat to life and some people are saying it is a lie. How do you want to prove it’s true; if he’s killed?

    Let’s shout and ensure the young man’s life and dream is not cut short instead of looking for whom to insult.
    If however, it is a false alarm aimed at whipping up public sentiments, then I think they’re no better than the people they’re criticising.

    In conclusion, let he who is in position to protect the young man’s life do so immediately.

  • Khomo

    At times I wonder if we are truly educated in this country and when are we going to stop this hypocrisy.. @Zeebook’s comment was just a parody , if he commited a sin according to u lot leave him and his God , …Why the threat ?

  • Mitchell

    Why are christians turning the tweet into a religious issue? Shey you see how crises start? The blogger I suppose only meant to show the extreme means the Nigerian government would go to tarnish the image or reputation of anyone who criticizes it. Even the untarnishable reputation of Jesus Christ. Do we really need to have this explained to us? Are we not all adults here? Please we should not develop the unreasonable sensitivities that have been the cause of many a religious crisis in this country.

  • Ashdale

    I imagine how people are going far in this matter. How can we progress when we only see through the eyes of religion.
    We voted base on religion and we have and still suffering from the consequences of our blindness and mediocrity.
    When it comes to religion matter, we throw away our sense of reasoning and pull on the zombie mode.
    Wake up from your slumber and live a life that is free from man-made rule and rituals. Stop playing God.
    And for @zebbook, he will overcome this challenge, he is protected not by man but by Him who made him.

  • amon

    Are u guys serious?? I thought we were talking about how terrible the government is and yall have let your minds get carried away by unecessary issues as usual!! FREEDOM OF SPEECH! The simply tried to make a point that made a lot of sense, its just grammar if he did that by using the mary magdalene vibe to it! I can’t believe some wld even suggest dat mallam rufai retweeted based on “religious sentiments” come on guys!
    You don’t have any clue how serious this is, it simply means we will all die in silence one day because the government will shut us up by any means necessary!! We must do everything to preserve our basic human rights.
    This should tell you what kind of government we are practicing.. Its WARLORD politics.. Go read about warlord politics and Weak african states maybe you will understand how bad things have gone!

  • MFusman

    Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad will not react the way we do as Muslims or Christians when we percieve they’ve insulted by the same or opposing believer. Shame on us as Christians and Muslims alike.

  • Victor

    What we do let us always show consideration,sensitivity and repect.Freedom of speech is not a licence to act irresponsibly.

  • chris

    I have tried to refrain from commenting on this issue I have keenly and carefully followed since yesterday. Firstly,let me state that some of us using the new media holds bloggers and “New Nigeria Activist” in high esteem and does not expect @zeebook to make school boy error he committed with his tweet. Weather you guys call it freedom of speech,politics,english,grammar, sarcasm,humor or whatever meaning or nomenclature you want it to connote,the truth must be said and let “call a spade,a spade”,the name Jesus is not meant to be used in any other form than for pious event or situation. Having said this,and in as much I don’t support what @zeebook action in this situation,death threat is not a justification for his blushes. Moreover,all the parties had apologized and to err is human. The scripture does not support any form of killing or threat.

  • @slyman43

    Wat shame,wat a country,wat a generation we find ourselves.cry d beloved country Nigeria..

  • Umar

    Whoever is behind this evil acts should please continue, a time would come when the rabbit would be pursuing the dog and the dog pursuing the hunter! As for my darling @zebbook, thou shall nt die but live. Ma beru, omo Akin ko gbudo sojo. Believe this, the Lord would protect his own people.

  • Staar

    For aa while, I was wondering what all these was all about? We are over sensitive in this country when we talk religion. So many peeps are fanatics but are yet to realize. I am a christian and I don’t see how Bukola insulted Jesus. Okay, Mallam Elrufai retweeted it, so what? One thing for sure, we are very shallow minded in thit country…… Then we tell ourselves that one religion is supreme to the other. Your ‘religion’ should be your way of life, check yourselves. We all know that this present government will do anything to turn citizens of this country to ‘dundi’ so to speak.

  • Revolution

    Murderous mob mentality in action.

  • amon

    How do you fight for God?? Who’s business is it how God decides to judge?? We often seem to forget that fact! The issue on ground is someone got a death threat for speaking his mind. We are getting to the point of total collapse!a Warlord Government wiLl weaken every apparatus that may threaten their existence..
    Maybe some bored guys somewhere are just playing pranks, u never know..
    Every simcard that works must have been registered so there shldnt be a problem whether the numbers were hidden or not!

  • azed

    Obasanjo once said that this nation will still be corrupt even if she’s being ruled by Jesus. I’m very sure he wasn’t drunk when he said that

  • Chuxie

    No educated n “sensible” person(coz sm pple are educated but foolish) would take dat tweet as a religious blasphemy of any tut. It simply relays a message is clear…why can’t pple jst grow up and read in btwn D lines. Is it bcoz a knwn muslim Retweeted? I’m sure there wud have bn many others who Did same. May the cries Of Nigerians for equity and Justice not be in vain as we speak up against Injustice in the country.

  • Sinzu

    I am amazed by how nigerians think… So because El-rufai retweeted the tweet, we got so much uproar!! Even Jesus used parables in the bible. I am ashame for my people! Get religion out of ur head and let’s unite and fight dis Govt, if not for urselves, think about ur children

  • Foluke

    This has been taken way out of proportion. I’m also a Christian and I don’t see anything wrong with the statement. Sometimes we the citizens are our own greatest enemies cos we time and again give this heartless government the tools to use against us. If indeed he was wrong about what he said or how he said it, leave him to the only righteous judge that exists, God. Many of us are guilty of the crime we accuse him of,no one is completely pure so why do you want to add more to your sins by killing him or his family members? Is that not hypocrisy in it self?

  • Jim Hines

    Freedom of speech does not protect you from the consequences of saying stupid shit.

  • kel

    Let’s not play down the religious porosity of our dear country Nigeria. If you’ve ever lived in the north and i mean Kaduna and Jos specifically where i lived until the crisis got bloodier, you will understand that if it was a Christian that retweeted and laughed at an unwarranted comparison the way Elrufai did in the name of a joke by a young nigerian blogger who obviously does not know his left from his right, it would not just have been death threats, we would have actually counted more dead bodies than the number of threats @zebbook has received. One would have expected that Elrufai councels the young man about using such a comparison. The first time i see muslims apologizing to christians on Elrufai’s wall for Elrufai’s misdemeanor. I also feel personally insulted when Elrufai’s voltrons insult the intelligence of Nigerians by saying we missed the joke directed at Jonathan and his government. Many of us can read and write and we know the import of Zebbook’s tweet, we only find it distasteful to use the name Jesus in the manner it was used. Why will an old man retweet and laugh “LWKMD’ at such? He should have stood his ground as he is wont to do and say he does not owe anyone any apology. @zebbook himself tweeted an unapologetic ‘no apology’ to everybody that felt offended by his tweet, 24 hours later he renders an apology, shuts down his twitter account and is now in hiding. Elrufai himself renders an apology and less than 24hours later, he is still spewing rubbish. The fixation on Jonathan and his government by the opposition should not make us insensitive to others who are of a separate faith. I hope we all learn from this incidence and put it behind us as we learn to detach religion & activism from politics. My little 2 cents.

  • ahmed tanko

    Are the threats coming from Govt agents or Christian Terrorists/Extremists? Anyway it is the responsibility of FGN to protect Nigerian Citizens,wherever.

  • Guru.

    Your plans are beginning back-fire. “A root will spring up from the south, and anyone that stands against it shall wither”!

  • ade

    I often wonder if the way we carry on abt religion is d way we act individually, will dis country nt be a better place?? Since when did we get the authority to fight God’s battles or be d ruler and judge of God’s affairs??? Is God too small dat He needs us to defend His honor?? I am shocked! to think that a young man’s life will be threatened over exercising his right to freedom of speech!!!

    To those who have called and threatened @zebbok, except u want the wrath of God to descend on u and ur generations, u will take whatever religious prejudice u have and shove it down ur throats..

    What is wrong with us?? If u feel as a person @zebbok has insulted ur religious sensitivity, why not just hit ur unfollow button or block such person?? If we can’t respect each other’s freedom/rights, what’s all d clamor about?

    I am a christian and I am appalled @ d way some of my brethren interprete/twist words in d name of being religious .. U want to pick a cause, pick a noble one, nt one dat is mundane and senseless and certainly not one u have no bizness with…

    That anyone can even justify threatening @zebbok for his tweets , in my own opinion, whoever did dat is a big FOOL(s).. So u think the God u want to protect HIS honor will applaud u for killing ?? Bera have a rethink..

  • opeyemi

    Some comment above shows dat some pple are moron are dis show hw foolish some can be. Somebody try to express himself on hw desperate dis present govt cud go to attack whosoever questions his government….. @zeebook said “IF” which is a conditional clause and he used Jesus simply bcos he is a christian. I don’t get the reason y somepple are attacking him 4 using jesus. Don’t we make reference to Jesus christ in our dealing? Most of us here even Swear with d bible in Vain. I, as a person knows d guy is safe and surely nothing will happen to him. Thank god dis foolish country call nigeria expires Jan 1, 2014. We shall all go our different ways.

  • Justus

    zebbook or whatsoever he calls himself wanted popularity on twitter. Twitter has become a place to criticise the govt, copy omojuwa or el-rufai and you gain followers. He claims to be an activist why is he on the run. Next time he will behave. Hope the mother does not develop high blood pressure cos someone wanted fame on social media.

  • amon

    Nigerians, you gotta love us, very funny people, but I sometimes wonder if there’s any intelligence left in our heads.. I wonder.. If I pick up a crucifix and drop it in a furnace or burn the bible, would I die on the spot?? Do stuff like that really matter to God?? Its the same blood we have the veins of religious extremist that we have in people who are so unecessarily concerned about using Jesus name..I’m a christian.. And I dnt care wat the guy said about jesus because that’s not the issue and it will never be an issue because I could never notice something so irrelevant!!
    So what @zeebook wanted some popularity? That’s his problem , but the bottom line is that he made a very vital point some of yall have failed to notice!! Too blinded by religion that the RELIGION THAT IS SUPPOSED TO SET YOU FREE HAS BECOME A BONDAGE MADE OUT YOUR SHALLOW MINDS! I will not go about cussing and fussing bout irrelevant issues but I think we all need to think more often!!
    @zeebook should retreat does not mean he is running away, he’ll come back stronger and we will joing our vpices with his and change this country!!! This is proof that something can be done on twitter! Do you have any idea how much we say to the world? They know what we are going through so when our government people Go abroad telling lies at them interviews the world knows!! They do! Its our fight!

  • tobiloba

    The question is must you abuse someone before correcting him/her? Must you play politics with social network? Omojuwa and El- rufai, u guys should grow up. Give constructive criticisms not destructive ones and stop using foul language

  • Obi

    When i saw it on facebook i didnt belived it bcoz i know muslims love and respect JESUS as their prophet. Plz we should be senceable in our doings

  • ekene uche

    A lot of twitter muscle flexing has been on ever since this story broke with a lot of accusations and counter accusations. To begin with,Nigerians are a sensitive and emotional people who in the flicker of an eye,can exhibit behaviours that wouldn’t normally be expected.
    2ndly,communication,written or verbal,connotes different things to people,ie,understanding. A single sentence can represent different things to people.
    Thus,I think on twitter,everyone has a responsibility to tweet responsibly.Or be ready to face the storm that might arise from the interpretation of a tweet. As a christain too,I ordinarily would not take offence with the tweet cos he was drawing an analogy,but that’s me. How about the remaining 150million people?
    Me thinks it was just a harmless tweet that went sour given the touchy and unpredictable nature of Nigerians,esp when it relates to religion! For a moment I am forced to wonder,what if it had been Mohammed instead of Jesus? Would it be like this or something much worse?
    Finally,it hasn’t gotten to a point where the tweeter should be threatened,God fights his battle,@least as a christain that’s what I believe! He needs no helper for that.
    As I said earlier,tweet or Retweet responsibly!!! Prevention till today still beats the hell out of cure!

  • alistair

    Naija social media get enough hypocrites, even oyinbo go tell u such analogue go cause wahala for a country like Nigerians, Nigerians wey suppose know better dey yarn opata like say dem come back from north pole. El rufai are u a learner? For the tweet and Rt to reach dis kain
    Kasala, Wetin we dey call for baba ijebu na 2-sure and for pool na sure banker. Dem dey tell u say our country na 1 of d most dangerous places to live, dat tweet na 2 test if na true? Abeg make nothing happen to people wey don apologise 2 people dem annoy na I’m be our prayer and everybody go find beta work do. Oya! Commot here jare!

  • Meldrick

    That’s a lie. He’s just looking for cheap popularity. Nobody sent him death threat.

  • M’ADE


  • M’ADE


  • Andie Torgbenda

    This is a clear case of usin 1 stone 2 kill 2 birds n d joy of blamin it on someone else is another incentive. Elrufai just saw a perfect opportunity 2 insult d supposed Jonathanians n christians, he took it with joy. Thank God u’re showin ur true colours now, if d tweet had made jest of prophet Muhamed will u’ve retweeted it? Let d SUPPOSED mega party make a mistake by presentin u in 2015 n get outright rejection, we can’t allow a religious fanatic 2 lead this country again. Guess its just Ribadu now, u better kiss politics goodbye!

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