Nigeria lifts ban on Twitter, says the social media giant has met conditions

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Following a crackdown on Twitter operations in Nigeria that lasted more than six months, the Nigerian government has decided to remove the suspension of Twitter activities there.

Nigeria’s technology agency, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), announced the news today in a statement issued by Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the agency’s director-general. The Nigerian government appointed him as head of the committee (Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement), established to supervise negotiations between the West African country and Twitter after its suspension.

Following a note addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari by the country’s minister of communications and digital economy, the chairman said that the executive branch had granted the authorization. The message also disclosed that the prohibition would be removed immediately on January 13, 2022, at midnight local time (WAT).

It said that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, “directs me to tell the public that the suspension of Twitter activity in Nigeria would be lifted effective at midnight tonight (13th of January 2020),” according to the statement released by the federal government.

Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy sent a note to the President in which he requested his permission. In the Memo, the minister provided an update on the situation and asked the President’s consent for easing the embargo based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement.”

In addition, Abdullahi highlighted in the statement that Twitter has committed to establishing “a legal company in Nigeria within the first quarter of 2022,” according to the report. According to the information, the formation of Twitter’s legal company is the social media giant’s “first step in demonstrating its long-term commitment to Nigeria.”

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One of the three requirements out of 10 that Nigeria claimed Twitter, which launched its first African presence in Ghana in April last year, had failed to satisfy to restart its activities in the nation months after the ban was imposed. This was announced by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture of Nigeria, in August of this year.

In addition to establishing a local office or a legal company in the nation, other unmet requirements included paying taxes in the country and helping the Nigerian government to police content and damaging tweets on the social media platform Twitter.

It seems that the Nigerian government has made some progress in response to such demands. Following the issuance of a government statement, Twitter has also said that it would select a “designated country representative” to engage in discussions with the Nigerian government as necessary.

There’s more to it than that: According to Nigerian law, Twitter has committed to dealing with any relevant tax liabilities arising from its business in the country. By the terms of the agreement, Twitter has agreed to include Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals.”

Using the portals, Twitter personnel and Nigeria may control forbidden material that breaches Twitter community guidelines, and Nigeria’s law enforcement authorities can submit a complaint when Twitter violates Nigerian law.

In a section of the statement, Abdullahi stated that Twitter had agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgment of Nigerian laws, as well as the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built, and to collaborate with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the broader industry to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, which are applicable in almost all developed countries.

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Nigeria blocked Twitter in June after the company removed a controversial tweet by the country’s president, in which he threatened to punish regional secessionists from its platform. Mohammed, who made the statement, said that the primary reason for the reprisal was the continued use of the venue for “actions that are capable of damaging Nigeria’s business life.”

Several people and business groups called for the platform’s activities to be reinstated over several months, while others, like former United States President Donald Trump, applauded the decision.

President Buhari said in October, during his presidential broadcast address on Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day commemoration, that the ban would only be removed if the social media behemoth satisfied specific criteria. A Twitter spokesman also claimed that conversations with the Nigerian government had been “respectful and fruitful” and that the company was looking forward to “having the service restored very soon” in a matching emailed statement to TechCrunch.

After three months, it looks that both sides have come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. TechCrunch reached out to Twitter for comment and confirmation whether or not the business meets the requirements. We have not, however, been provided with any press time.

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