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Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban After Over 200 Days

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has lifted the ban he placed on Twitter after 222 days (7 months). The unhindered access to Twitter is expected to commence from Midnight 13/01/2021.

The government had slammed a ban on Twitter after it deleted Buhari’s tweet which the social media platform considered as a breach of its policies. Since then, Nigerians have been using Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access social media platform.

The end of the ban was announced in a statement by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kachifu Abdullahi who was involved in the government’s negotiation with Twitter.

The statement reads: “The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria effective from 12 am tonight, 13th January 2022.

“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami. 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.”

The statement also itemised some of the agreements reached with Twitter that led to the lifting of the ban including Committing to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in the first quarter of 2022, appointing a designated country representative, complying with applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law, enroll Nigeria in its Partner Support and Law Enforcement Portals and act with a respectful acknowledgment of Nigerian laws.

Recall that on 5th June 2021, the FGN suspended the operation of Twitter through an announcement made by the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed.

It is interesting to note that the ban has not stopped Nigerians from using the platform even though corporate organisations, government agencies and political actors deserted the platform. The only difference is that the lifting of the ban might be an avenue or opportunity for the government to clamp down on its users.

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Musa Suleiman
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