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Nigeria lifts suspension on Twitter, as micro-blogging app plans to appoint country rep

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Nigeria on Wednesday finally lifted the suspension placed on Twitter operations in the country, effective from 12 am, January 13, 2022.

This was disclosed in a press statement on Wednesday signed by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement, Kashifu Abdullahi.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12 am tonight, January 13, 2022.

“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami,” Abdullahi stated.

In June 2021, the federal government announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operation after the platform deleted tweets made by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had threatened to treat members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the “language they understand.”

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It had attributed the suspension to “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

The government said it reached an amicable resolution with Twitter on various terms and conditions given to the micro-blogging platform.

“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,” the statement reads.

“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.”

The statement further stated that the micro-blogging site 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.”

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