By Adam Abu-Bashal and Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu
ABUJA, Nigeria (AA) - Nigeria announced late Wednesday that it has lifted a ban on the microblogging and social networking service Twitter in the West African country that had been in place since June 4.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency, said in a statement that the government had lifted the suspension of Twitter’s operations from midnight of Jan. 13.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter’s operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight, 13th January 2022.
"The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim,” the statement said.
The president had constituted a seven-man presidential committee to engage Twitter Inc. Subsequently, the committee established a 20-member technical committee comprising all relevant government agencies. The technical committee engaged and worked directly with the Twitter team.
Abdullahi’s statement said the government has achieved positive results in its negotiations with Twitter.
He noted that Twitter has agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian culture, history and laws.
The West African nation blocked Twitter after the social media platform deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari in which he addressed secessionists in remarks perceived as threatening.
In addition, the suspension was due to the unceasing use of the platform by some unscrupulous elements for subversive purposes and criminal activities, propagating fake news, and polarizing Nigerians along tribal and religious lines.
According to the statement, these issues bordering on national security, cohesion and the effects of the abuse of the Twitter platform forced the government to suspend the operations of Twitter to address the direct and collateral issues around its operations in Nigeria.
The statement added that Twitter has committed to establishing a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022. The 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. Twitter has agreed to appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities. The Global Public Policy team is also directly available through a dedicated communication channel.