The Nigerian government lifted the six-month ban on Twitter after the micro-blogging platform agreed to meet all the conditions set out by the government, TechCrunch reported citing a statement made by Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, chairman of the Technical Committee Nigeria–Twitter Engagement.
The government in June last year announced that it had indefinitely suspended Twitter’s activities in the country days after the social media platform removed a post of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened violent retaliation against a southeastern secessionist group following attacks on public property. The government cited “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” as the reason for the ban.
The ban received backlash from freedom of speech activists and some pointed out how it could backfire by hurting the country’s economy. Many Nigerian users eventually resorted to using virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the ban.
In revoking the ban, the Nigerian government said:
“The new global reality is that digital platforms and their operators wield enormous influence over the fabric of our society, social interaction and economic choices. These platforms can be used as either a tool or a weapon. Therefore, our action is a deliberate attempt to recalibrate our relationship with Twitter to achieve the maximum mutual benefits for our nation without jeopardizing the justified interests of the Company. Our engagement has been very respectful, cordial, and successful.”
Why was Twitter restored?
According to the statement issued by Abdullahi, Twitter was restored after it met the following demands:
- Register a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022
- Appoint a designated country representative
- Cooperate with the Nigerian government to regulate content and harmful tweets by enrolling Nigeria in its portal for direct communications between government officials and Twitter staff
- Comply with applicable local tax obligations
- Act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws
- Develop Code of Conduct in line with global best practices
While Twitter has not confirmed if it has indeed accepted these demands, the company tweeted:
“We are pleased that Twitter has been restored for everyone in Nigeria. Our mission in Nigeria & around the world, is to serve the public conversation. We are deeply committed to Nigeria, where Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement, and civic participation.”
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