The Federal Government of Nigeria has lifted the seven-month-long suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Chairman of the Technical Committee for Nigeria-Twitter Engagement, announced the decision.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Abdullahi said the approval came as a result of a memo written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
According to him, the suspension was the result of some unscrupulous elements using the platform for subversive and criminal purposes, spreading fake news, and polarizing Nigerians along tribal and religious lines, among other things.
According to Abdullahi, issues relating to national security, cohesion, and the effects of abuse on the Twitter platform compelled the government to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria in order to address the direct and collateral issues surrounding its operations.
He went on to say that the process of resolving the impasse between the FGN and Twitter Inc. aided in laying the groundwork for a mutually beneficial future with limitless possibilities.
“The FGN has asked Twitter to fulfill some conditions before restoring Twitter Operations,” according to the statement. In accordance with Nigerian laws, these conditions addressed the legal registration of operations, taxation, and the management of prohibited publications.
“Twitter has agreed to meet all of the FGN’s conditions.” As a result, the FGN and Twitter have agreed on a timeline for execution, which began this week. Our collaboration with Twitter ushers in a new chapter in global digital diplomacy and establishes a new operational template for Twitter to return stronger for the benefit of Nigerians.”
According to the FG, the resolutions reached with Twitter include the formation of a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022, which would be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, and the appointment of a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities.
“The Partner Support Portal provides a direct channel for government officials and Twitter staff to manage prohibited content that violates Twitter community rules,” it continued.
“Twitter has agreed to comply with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law, and has agreed to include Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals,” the statement continued.
At the same time, the Law Enforcement Portal allows law enforcement agencies to submit a report with a legal justification when they suspect that content violates Nigerian laws.”
According to Abdullahi, the FGN lifted the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria on January 13, 2022, at midnight, based on the agreements, and encouraged users to maintain ethical behavior and refrain from promoting divisive, dangerous, and distasteful information on the platform.