Nigeria lifts Twitter ban after more than 200 days

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has lifted the ban on Twitter he had placed after 222 days (7 month) of inactivity. Unhindered Twitter access will be available starting at Midnight on 13/01/2021.

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After it deleted Buhari’s tweet, which the social media platform considered a violation of its policies, the government condemned a ban on Twitter. Nigerians now use Virtual Private Network (VPN), to access social media platforms.

Kachifu Abdullahi, Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), announced the end of the ban in a statement. He was also involved in negotiations with Twitter.

The statement said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), directs me to notify the public that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved lifting of the suspension of Twitter operations within Nigeria effective at 12 AM tonight, 13 January 2022.

“A memo was sent to the President by Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications. The approval was granted. The Minister requested approval from the President to lift the suspension based on the recommendation of the Technical Committee Nigerian-Twitter Engagement in the memo.

The statement also listed some of the agreements made with Twitter that resulted in lifting the ban. These included Committing to register at the Corporate Affairs Commission in the first quarter 2022, appointing an appointed country representative, complying tax obligations under Nigerian law on its operations, enrolling Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals, and respectfully acknowledging Nigerian laws.

Remember that the Honourable Minister for Information and Culture Alh Lai Mohammed announced on 5 June 2021 that the FGN had suspended Twitter’s operation.

Interesting to note is that Nigerians have continued to use the platform despite the fact that government agencies, corporate organizations and politicians have abandoned the platform. Only difference is that lifting the ban may be an opportunity or avenue for the government to clampdown on its users.

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