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Just in: Nigeria finally suspends Twitter ban 

Felix Oloyede



Twitter expands feature allowing users to flag misleading tweets

President Muhammadu Buhari approved lifting the suspension of Twitter‘s operation in Nigeria from Thursday, January 13, 2022.

A statement from NITDA CEO and Chairman of the Nigeria-Twitter Engagement Technical Committee, Kashif Inuwa, said the approval was granted following a memorandum written to the president by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

In the memo, the minister updated and requested the president’s approval for the uprising based on the recommendation of the Nigeria-Twitter Engagement Technical Committee.

“You will recall that on June 5, 2021, the FGN suspended the operation of Twitter through an announcement made by the Honorable Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed. Thereafter, the President constituted a seven-person Presidential Committee to involve Twitter Inc. Subsequently, in his wisdom, the Presidential Committee established a 20-member Technical Committee comprising all relevant government agencies. The Technical Committee engaged and worked directly with the Twitter team.

“The immediate and remote cause of the suspension was the incessant use of the platform by some unscrupulous elements for subversive purposes and criminal activities, spreading false news and polarizing Nigerians on tribal and religious terms, among others. These issues that border National Security, Cohesion and the effects of the abuse of the Twitter platform forced the FGN to suspend the operation of Twitter to address direct and collateral issues surrounding its operations in Nigeria.

“The new global reality is that digital platforms and their operators exert an enormous influence on the fabric of our society, social interaction and economic options. These platforms can be used as a tool or as a weapon. Every nation is grappling with how to balance its use efficiently. Without balance, the security, privacy, social well-being and development of all citizens are at stake. Therefore, our action is a deliberate attempt to recalibrate our relationship with Twitter to achieve maximum mutual benefits for our nation without jeopardizing the justified interests of the Company. Our engagement has been very respectful, cordial, and successful.

“The process of resolving this impasse between the FGN and Twitter Inc. has helped lay the foundation for a mutually beneficial future with endless possibilities. Twitter is a platform of choice for many Nigerians, from young innovators to public sector officials who find it useful to engage their audience. Therefore, our commitment will help Twitter to improve and develop more business models to cover a wider area in Nigeria. Additionally, the FGN hopes to provide an enabling environment for Twitter and other global tech companies to realize their potential and become profitable in a sustainable manner in Nigeria.

“While appreciating all Nigerians, especially the vibrant young Nigerians who have endured the long wait to resolve this impasse, the FGN is pleased to say that the gains made from this shared national sacrifice are immeasurable. Some of the gains include a) Ongoing economic and training opportunities as the Company continues to consider expanding its presence in Nigeria; b) Gain a better understanding of how to use the Twitter platform effectively to improve business; c) Generation of income from the operation of Twitter in Nigeria; d) Fluid and coordinated relationship between the Nigerian government and Twitter that leads to mutual trust; e) Reduction of cybercriminal activities such as terrorism, cyberstalking, hate speech, etc .; and f) Work with Twitter and other global companies to build an acceptable code of conduct following global best practices.

“The FGN has asked Twitter to meet certain conditions before restoring its services. These conditions addressed the legal registration of operations, taxation and the management of prohibited publications under Nigerian law. Twitter has agreed to comply with all the conditions established by the FGN. Consequently, the FGN and Twitter have decided on an execution schedule, which started this week. Our commitment to Twitter opens a new chapter in global digital diplomacy and establishes a new operational template for Twitter to come back stronger for the benefit of Nigerians. The following are the resolutions agreed with Twitter. Inc .: i. Twitter has committed to establishing a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022. The legal entity will be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The establishment of the entity is Twitter’s first step in demonstrating its long-term commitment to Nigeria. ii. Twitter agreed to appoint a designated country representative to interact with the Nigerian authorities. The Global Public Policies team is also available directly through a dedicated communication channel. iii. Twitter is committed to complying with the tax obligations applicable to its operations under Nigerian law. IV. Twitter agreed to list Nigeria on its law enforcement and partner support portals. The Partner Support Portal provides a direct channel for government officials and Twitter staff to manage prohibited content that violates the rules of the Twitter community. At the same time, the Law Enforcement Portal provides a channel for law enforcement agencies to submit a report with legal justification when they suspect that the content violates Nigerian laws. Together, these represent a comprehensive compliance apparatus. v. Twitter has agreed to act with respectful recognition of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history upon which such legislation has been built and to work with the FGN and industry at large 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 Twitter operations in Nigeria as of midnight on January 13, 2022. We encourage all users of the Twitter platform to exercise ethical behaviour and refrain from promoting divisive information. , dangerous and unpleasant on the platform. As patriotic citizens, we must bear in mind 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. 9. Given the influence of Twitter on our democracy, our economy and the very fabric of our corporate existence as a nation, our priority is to adapt, not ban, Twitter. The FGN is committed to working with Twitter to do everything possible to help Nigerians align with and navigate Twitter’s algorithmic design to harness its potential and avoid its dangers.

“In its approval, the President thanks the Presidential Committee headed by the Honorable Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed, for the supervisory and guiding role that he provided to the Technical Committee during the engagement.

“Similarly, the Presidential Committee congratulates the Technical Committee for a professional, solid and productive commitment to Twitter Inc. It also thanks to the Government Regulatory Agencies and Internet Service Providers that implemented the FGN directives during the suspension”, adds the statement.

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