Twitter has suspended the accounts of Nigerian influencers, including Pamilerin, Danny Walter, Tife, Valhalla, Mr Ahmed, Samuel Mbah, Volqx, Lamar, Four-eyed Edo Boy, Biisi and Adonai, for trending the hashtag #freeSaab.
Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman believed to be laundering money for President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, was arrested in Cape Verde last year, prompting a paid campaign for his release.
Saab, according to a report by Associated Press, is said to be aware of how Maduro and his family, as well as top aides siphoned millions of dollars out of the country. He was said to have been on his way to Iran to discuss deals to exchange Venezuelan gold for gasoline before his plane landed in Cape Verde, leading to his arrest.
Subsequently, the Venezuelan government allegedly used paid Twitter accounts to sway public opinion and stop authorities in Cape Verde from extraditing its chief dealmaker to the US for onward prosecution for money laundering charges.
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The #FreeAlexSaab hashtag trended online sometimes late last year and also in February 2021 with more than half a million Twitter posts, according to Financial Times analysis. Some Nigerian social media influencers were allegedly paid to trend the hashtag meant to obstruct justice.