President Muhammad Buhari, president of Nigeria
President Muhammad Buhari, president of Nigeria

How FG made Twitter Bow to Stringent Conditions Before Lifting Ban
By Abbas Badmus

TECHDIGEST – Hours after the Federal Government lifted the ban on Twitter, details of the negotiations and how Nigerian government officials made the microblogging site to accept strict conditions, have emerged.

The ban was lifted on Thursday after  Twitter proved beyond reasonable doubt that it has accepted the terms put forward by Nigeria.

The announcement was made by the Director General, National information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.

“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,” Kashifu said.

“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,” Kashifu added.

The federal government had on June 4  announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter. The suspension came after the microblogging site deleted tweets from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account.

The President had tweeted that the country will treat the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the “language they understand”.

Defending the decision, Lai Mohammed, the information minister, condemned the deletion of the president’s post and accused Twitter of “double standards”.

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