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The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday announced the suspension on microblogging site, Twitter, seven months after it stopped the social media platform in the country.
This announcement was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi which was obtained by Africa Today News, New York.
‘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. The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim,‘ the statement added.
‘In the Memo, the Minister updates and requests the President’s approval for the lifting based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation.’
The government and Twitter have been in negotiations since over restoring the service based on a set of conditions, including Twitter registering operations in Nigeria.
According to him, Twitter has agreed to demands for working in the country.
It added that the committee set up by the Federal Government engaged with the Twitter team to engage resolve the impasse, adding that the resolutions will bring ‘endless possibilities’.
‘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,’ the statement added.
Nigeria halted Twitter operations in June after the company deleted a comment by Buhari, provoking an international outcry over freedom of expression. But the presidency said the move had nothing to do with the social media platform’s action.
‘There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences. All the while, the company has escaped accountability,’ presidential aide, Garba Shehu, said in the wake of the suspension.
‘Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic, and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to the loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.’
Africa Today News, New York recalls that the United States, European Union, and Canada were among those who joined rights groups in condemning the ban as damaging to freedom of expression in Africa’s most populous country.
Twitter had a major role in political discourse in Nigeria, with the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, as well as during the #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests in 2020.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK