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It was jubilation galore on social media as the Federal Governmentl lifted the suspension on micro blogging site, Twitter, in Nigeria seven months after it was suspended .
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the decision which was announced by the Chairman, Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform deleted a tweet President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, many Nigerians have bypassed the Twitter suspension by using Virtual Private Network.
Kashifu, in a statement in Abuja, said the approval was given following a memo written to the President by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
He said: “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.
“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.”
Abdullahi added: “The process of resolving this impasse between the FGN and Twitter Inc. has helped lay a foundation for a mutually beneficial future with endless possibilities. Twitter is a platform of choice for many Nigerians ranging from young innovators to public sector officials who find it helpful to engage their audience. Therefore, our engagement will help Twitter improve and develop more business models to cover a broader area in Nigeria. Furthermore, the FGN looks forward to providing a conducive environment for Twitter and other global tech companies to achieve their potential and be sustainably profitable in Nigeria.
“While appreciating all Nigerians, especially the vibrant Nigerian youths who have borne with the long wait to resolve this impasse, the FGN is happy to say that the gains made from this shared national sacrifice are immeasurable .
Meanwhile, the FGN has asked Twitter to fulfil some conditions before restoring its services.
These conditions addressed legal registration of operations, taxation, and managing prohibited publication in line with Nigerian laws. Twitter has agreed to meet all the conditions set by the FGN. Consequently, the FGN and Twitter have decided on an execution timeline, which has started this week. Our engagement with Twitter opens a new chapter in global digital diplomacy and sets a new operational template for Twitter to come back stronger for the benefit of Nigerians.
The following are the resolutions agreed with Twitter. Inc.:
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.
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.
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.