Tech & Innovation January 13, 2022 at 08:00 am

Why Nigeria has lifted its ban on Twitter after seven months

Abu Mubarik January 13, 2022 at 08:00 am

January 13, 2022 at 08:00 am | Tech & Innovation

The Nigerian government banned Twitter seven months ago. Photo Credit: BBC Pidgin

The Nigerian government has lifted an indefinite ban on the microblogging website Twitter. Africa’s biggest economy imposed a sweeping ban on the operations of Twitter in the country seven months ago after the platform deleted a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari saying it violated the company’s policy.

The tweet in question was a statement the Nigerian leader posted on his handle threatening to punish those responsible for attacks on government buildings in the country’s southeast.

“Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand,” the 78-year-old wrote, referring to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War which killed many.

The deleted tweet did not go down well with the Nigerian government, prompting the country’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, to accuse the American social media company of “double standards.” He subsequently released a statement announcing the ban on the operations of the company.

The statement read: “The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.”

Shockingly, the suspension of Twitter’s operation in the West African nation was announced on Twitter, prompting mockery from users in Nigeria and worldwide.

The lifting of the ban on the operations of Twitter comes after the tech giant agreed to open a local office, among other agreements with authorities, Reuters reports.

“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…,” Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency said in a statement.

The statement added that Twitter would also work with the Nigerian government and the broader industry “to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, applicable in almost all developed countries.”

“Therefore, the (federal government) lifts the suspension of the Twitter operations in Nigeria from midnight of 13th January 2022.”

The Nigerian government also said Twitter has agreed to register in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022, appoint a designated country representative and comply with tax obligations in Nigeria, BBC reported.

The ban affected corporate organizations and small businesses which use the platform to get to their customers. Some Nigerians however continued to access the site after the suspension using virtual private networks (VPNs).

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