Nigerian Government Explains Why Twitter Ban Was Lifted After 222 Days, N517 Billion Loss

The Federal Government of Nigeria Wednesday announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the lifting of the ban it placed on Twitter operations in the country.

The Nigerian government communicated this in a statement issued by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Director General Kashifu Inuwa, who was also the Chairman of the Technical Committee on Nigeria-Twitter Engagement.

He gave reasons for the lift which has come into effect from 12:00 am on Thursday.

The ban imposed on Twitter operations in Nigeria took effect from June 5, 2021, due to issues bordering on national security and cohesion, as well as the effects of the abuse of the platform when President Buhari’s tweet was deleted by the micro-blogging platform.

President Buhari subsequently followed the ban on the social media platform with the setting up of a 7-member Presidential Committee to engage with Twitter management.

This was followed by the setting up of another 20-member Technical Committee comprising all relevant agencies.

The the Nigerian team that engaged with Twitter said they agreed that “there should be legal registration of the operations, taxation as well as management of prohibited publications in line with Nigerian laws.”

Inuwa said: “Twitter has committed to establishing a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022.

“The legal entity will register with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

”The establishment of the entity is Twitter’s first step in demonstrating its long-term commitment to Nigeria.

“Twitter has agreed to appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities.

“Twitter has agreed to comply with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law.”

“Twitter agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws as well as the national culture and history on which such legislation had been built.

“Twitter agreed to work with the Federal Government and the broader industry to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices applicable in almost all developed countries.

“Therefore, the FGN lifts the suspension of the Twitter operations in Nigeria from midnight of 13th January, 2022,” the statement quoted Inuwa as saying.

Inuwa encouraged Twitter users in Nigeria to maintain ethical behaviour and refrain from promoting divisive, dangerous, and distasteful information on the platform.

“Considering Twitter’s influence on our democracy, our economy and the very fabric of our corporate existence as a nation, our priority is to adapt, not ban Twitter.

“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.

“During the period of the negotiations, the Federal Government discovered better ways of navigating the platform,” NITDA DG Inuwa added.