[UPDATED]: Seven Months After, Buhari Lifts Twitter Ban

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After about seven months, the Federal Government has lifted the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.

The decision was announced by the Chairman, Technical Committee, Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.

Abdullahi, in a statement in Abuja, said the approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.

According to him, the cause of the suspension was due to unceasing use of the platform by some unscrupulous elements for subversive purposes and criminal activities, propagating fake news, and polarising Nigerians along tribal and religious lines, among others.

Abdullahi said issues bordering on national security, cohesion and the effects of the abuse of the Twitter platform forced the FGN to suspend the operation of Twitter to address the direct and collateral issues around its operations in Nigeria.

He added that the process of resolving the impasse between the FGN and Twitter Inc. helped lay a foundation for a mutually-beneficial future with endless possibilities.

The statement read in part, “The FGN has asked Twitter to fulfil some conditions before restoring its services. These conditions addressed legal registration of operations, taxation, and managing prohibited publication in line with Nigerian laws.

Twitter has agreed to meet all the conditions set by the FGN. Consequently, the FGN and Twitter have decided on an execution timeline, which has started this week. Our engagement with Twitter opens a new chapter in global digital diplomacy and sets a new operational template for Twitter to come back stronger for the benefit of Nigerians.”

The FG said the resolutions agreed with Twitter are the establishment of a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022, which would be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and the appointment of a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities.

Twitter has agreed to comply with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law and has agreed to enrol Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals,” the statement added.

It continued, “The Partner Support Portal provides a direct channel for government officials and Twitter staff to manage prohibited content that violates Twitter community rules. At the same time, the Law Enforcement Portal provides a channel for the law enforcement agencies to submit a report with a legal justification where it suspects that content violates Nigerian Laws.”

Abdullahi revealed that based on the agreements, the FGN lifted the suspension of the Twitter operations in Nigeria from midnight of January 13, 2022, and encouraged users to maintain ethical behaviour and refrain from promoting divisive, dangerous, and distasteful information on the platform.

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