The federal government has deleted a tweet posted on Wednesday via the verified Twitter handle of the Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning begging the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, for ventilators.
The ministry, in the tweet, which has drawn a lot of criticisms, begged the South African billionaire for between 100 and 500 ventilators to assist in the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country.
The ministry was responding to a statement by the billionaire, of his company’s decision to send FDA-approved ventilators to hospitals worldwide.
Appealing for help for a country where coronavirus cases are gradually rising, the tweet was greeted with criticisms from embarrassed Nigerians who questioned the whereabouts of the billions of naira donated by Nigerian billionaires to fight the pandemic.
The backlash from Nigerians apparently forced the ministry to delete the tweet and issue a statement saying it was an unauthorised post.
A statement by the media aide to the minister of finance, Yunusa Abdullahi, read: “An unauthorised post was made on the verified twitter handle of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The fact of the post is regrettable because of which it was brought down. We have made sure our internal processes are strengthened that such doesn’t happen again. The error is highly regrettable.”
Although the ministry described the post as regrettable, supporters of the government defended the tweet saying other countries such as Ukraine also asked for help.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, amplified the ministry’s appeal through his social media handle.
Ahmad wrote in response to Mr Musk’s tweet: “Hello Elon, I woke up to this your tweet all over the TL, in this period of worldwide emergency getting ventilators is pretty hard no matter how much money you get, and that’s understandable! Nigeria, my dear country is in need. Kindly send 100s here, we really need them, thanks.”
As of Wednesday, Nigeria’s coronavirus cases had shot up to 174, with two deaths.