The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced it has lifted the six months suspension it placed on microblogging site Twitter after it was banned last year June. The country suspended Twitter indefinitely after its president Muhammadu Buhari made a controversial tweet threatening to punish regional secessionists, which was subsequently deleted by Twitter.
“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 12 am tonight, 13th January 2022,” reads a statement by Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director-general of Nigeria’s tech agency, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), TechCrunch reports.
“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim. In the Memo, the minister updated and requested the President’s approval for the lifting based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation.”
In October, the Nigerian government said it would lift the ban if certain conditions are met. Abdullahi said Twitter agreed to meet these conditions which include setting up “a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022.” This will be Twitter’s “first step in demonstrating its long-term commitment to Nigeria,” according to the statement. The social media giant is also required to pay taxes locally and cooperate with the Nigerian government to regulate its content and harmful tweets. Last April, Twitter established its first physical presence in Africa by opening an office in Ghana, the Nigerian government is hoping the company would do the same.
In the statement released by the Nigerian government, Twitter is ready to “appoint a designated country representative” who would act as a liaison officer between the two bodies. “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 statement continued.
In a reaction tweet by Twitter’s Public Policy account, the social media giant said “we are pleased that Twitter has been restored for everyone in Nigeria. Our mission in Nigeria & around the world, is to serve the public conversation. We are deeply committed to Nigeria, where Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement, and civic participation.”