Nigeria Lifts Bans On Twitter After Microblogging Platform Agrees To Meet All Conditions Set By The Government

by Swarajya Staff - Jan 13, 2022 03:49 AM
Nigeria Lifts Bans On Twitter After Microblogging Platform Agrees To Meet All Conditions Set By The GovernmentTwitter logo.
Snapshot
  • Nigeria has has lifted the suspension of Twitter operation after the micro-blogging platform agreed to comply with all conditions set by the country's federal government.

    On Jun 4 2021, Nigeria announced an indefinite suspension of Twitter after the social media platform had deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari in which he made a reference to the country's 30-month civil war in 1967-1970.

    Among other things, Twitter will set up a legal entity in Nigeria, met locl tax obligations and will act with a "respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history".

Nigeria has has lifted the suspension of Twitter operation after the micro-blogging platform agreed to comply with all conditions set by the country's federal government.

On Jun 4 2021, Nigeria announced an indefinite suspension of Twitter after the social media platform had deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari in which he made a reference to the country's 30-month civil war in 1967-1970, warning "those who wanted the government to fail" to desist from fomenting trouble. The tweet was deleted following criticisms from some netizens.

"Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigeria civil war. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand," the President tweeted on Tuesday night.

Nigerian government had accused the US micro-blogging platform of double standards and supporting the secessionists in the west African country.

Suspension revoked

The Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and head of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi announced the suspension of the ban in Abuja.

Inuwa, in a statement, said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight, 13th January 2022.

Inuwa said that the approval to the lift the ban was given following a memo written to the President by the country's Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.

Inuwa listed five conditions which Twitter has agreed to meet to restore its operation in the country.

  1. Twitter will establish a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022. The legal entity will register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The establishment of the entity is Twitter’s first step in demonstrating its long-term commitment to Nigeria.

  2. Twitter will appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities. The Global Public Policy team is also directly available through a dedicated communication channel.

  3. Twitter will comply with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law.

  4. Twitter will enroll Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals. The Partner Support Portal provides a direct channel for government officials and Twitter staff to manage prohibited content that violates Twitter community rules.

  5. Twitter will act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built and work with the FGN and the broader industry to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, applicable in almost all developed countries.”

“The FGN is committed to working with Twitter to do anything possible to help Nigerians align and navigate Twitter algorithmic design to realise its potentials while avoiding its perils." Inuwa added.

Post the suspension, the Nigerian President constituted a seven-man Presidential Committee to engage Twitter. The Presidential Committee set up a 20-member Technical Committee comprising all relevant government agencies. The Technical Committee engaged and worked directly with the Twitter team.

“The process of resolving this impasse between the FGN and Twitter Inc. has helped lay a foundation for a mutually beneficial future with endless possibilities. Twitter is a platform of choice for many Nigerians ranging from young innovators to public sector officials who find it helpful to engage their audience" Inuma pointed out

“Therefore, our engagement will help Twitter improve and develop more business models to cover a broader area in Nigeria. Furthermore, the FGN looks forward to providing a conducive environment for Twitter and other global tech companies to achieve their potential and be sustainably profitable in Nigeria.”

Inuma acknowledged that reality digital platforms and their operators wield enormous influence over the fabric of society, social interaction and economic choices. He said that every nation is grappling with how to balance its usage efficiently

"These platforms can be used as either a tool or a weapon." he added.

Also Read: If Twitter Is A Free Speech Advocate, I Am Martin Luther King

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