The Federal Government has lifted its ban on Twitter after it agreed to the conditions set up by the government effective Thursday, 13th January 2021.
The Nigerian government had been in talks with Twitter as they discussed the conditions and requirements the social media platform has to agree to implement before their operations can be resumed in the country.
Chairman, Technical Committee, Nigeria Twitter Engagement, and Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi,
released a statement on Wednesday detailing the conditions set by the federal government which Twitter has agreed to adhere to.
The statement said the reason for the suspension was the “unceasing use of the platform by unscrupulous elements for subversive purposes and criminal activities, propagating fake news and polarising Nigerians along tribal and religious lines among others.
“These issues bordering on national security, cohesion and the effects of the abuse of the Twitter platform forced the Federal Government to suspend the operation of Twitter to address the direct and collateral issues around its operations in Nigeria.
According to Abdullahi, this is a profitable move for Nigeria and its citizens as some of the benefits include:
- Ongoing economic and training opportunities as the company continues to consider expanding its presence in Nigeria. This will help people get a better understanding of how to use the Twitter platform effectively to improve businesses.
- Revenue generation from the operation of Twitter in Nigeria
- Smooth and coordinated relationship between Nigerian government and Twitter leading to mutual trust
- A reduction of cybercriminal activities such as terrorism, cyberstalking, hate speech, etc.
- Collaborating with Twitter and other global companies to build an acceptable code of conduct following the global best practice.
Among the conditions Twitter agreed to are:
- Establish a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022 which must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
- Comply with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law.
- Appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities.
- Enrol Nigeria in its partner support and law enforcement portals which provides a direct channel for government officials and Twitter staff to manage prohibited content that violates Twitter community rules. This 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.
- Respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built and 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.
All Nigerian users on the Twitter platform have been encouraged to maintain ethical behaviour and refrain from promoting divisive, dangerous and distasteful information on the platform.
It explicitly stated that anything illegal offline is also illegal online and that committing a crime using a Nigerian Internet Protocol (IP) is synonymous with committing a crime within our jurisdiction.
On June 4, 2021, the Federal Government hit Twitter with an indefinite suspension after the site deleted a tweet from President Buhari, which the site explained had breached its regulations.
The post was in response to the president’s disapproval of the Indigenous People of Biafra’s (IPOB) operations, which included attacks on security officers and the burning down of police stations. Following concerns from several Twitter users, the tweet was taken down.