The Federal Government of Nigeria has lifted its suspension on microblogging site, Twitter, seven months after it took the action against the social media platform in the country.
This development was announced through a statement issued by the Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
“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 decision was taken after President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of a memo from Communications and Digital Economy Minister Isa Ali Ibrahim.
Listing the conditions agreed to by Twitter, 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 (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.
• Twitter has agreed to comply with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law.
• Twitter has agreed to enrol Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals. 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. Taken together, these represent a comprehensive compliance apparatus; and
• Twitter has agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built and work with the FGN and the broader industry to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, applicable in almost all developed countries.
He added: “Therefore, the FGN lifts the suspension of the Twitter operations in Nigeria from midnight of 13th January 2022. We encourage all users of the Twitter platform to maintain ethical behaviour and refrain from promoting divisive, dangerous, and distasteful information on the platform.
“As patriotic citizens, we need to be mindful 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.
“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.
“In his approval, the President appreciates the Presidential Committee led by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, for the supervisory role and guidance given to the Technical Committee during the engagement.
“Similarly, the Presidential Committee commends the Technical Committee for a professional, robust and productive engagement with Twitter Inc. It also appreciates Government Regulatory Agencies and Internet Service Providers who implemented the FGN’s directives during the suspension.”