In June, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria two days after Twitter temporarily froze the Nigerian president’s official account for allegedly violating its “abusive behavior” policy.
At the time, the Federal Government said the platform was suspended due to its capacity to undermine Nigeria’s corporate existence followed by a new directive asking all OTT and social media platforms to be licensed before they operate in Nigeria.
Today, in a televised address to the nation during its 61st Independence Day celebrations, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said social media is a very useful platform that has enabled millions of Nigerians to connect with loved ones, promote their businesses, socialise, and access news and other information.
“However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination. Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments,” the president said.
To address these negative trends, Buhari said his government suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria to allow it to put measures in place to address these challenges.
The Presidential Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and requires Twitter to be part of Nigeria’s national security and cohesion, undergo registration, have a physical presence and representation as well as pay taxes and set up local dispute resolution mechanisms and focus on local content development.
Buhari says the government has had extensive engagements and the suspension will be lifted only if the conditions above are met.
“As a country, we are committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of our citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety,” he added.
Earlier, the Federal Government said the social networking site, Twitter agreed to set up an office in Nigeria in 2022 and that the government and Twitter are finding mutual grounds to solve most areas of misunderstanding.