Nigerians can now access Twitter as before after authorities in the West African country lifted the indefinite suspension placed on June 4 2021. The lifting of the ban was contained in a statement released by the Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency [NITDA], Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
The statement reads:
“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight, 13th January 2022.
“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
“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.”
Details are still emerging as at press time…
Nigeria suspended the activities of Twitter in June 2021 after expressing its displeasure over Twitter’s decision to delete president Buhari’s genocidal tweet which generated a backlash. In his official reaction, the country’s information and culture minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed had accused Twitter of playing “double standards.”
The government went ahead to suspend the activities of the microblogging platform; a step that further cast the government in bad light in the face of its citizens.
The controversial tweets referred to the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War that took the lives of many citizens mostly people from the Eastern part of the country. Quoting the Nigerian leader, Buhari threatened to deal with “those misbehaving today” in “the language they will understand.”
The relationship between the Nigerian government and Twitter has never been rosy. In April, the Nigerian government did not hide its feelings when Twitter announced that its first African office will be sited in Ghana. Nigerians for instance were shocked to hear that a sister West African country was picked ahead of it.
Terrorism, poor economic policies among several other harsh decisions are hindering the country from attracting the right investments. While Nigeria may boast of having the numbers, the same cannot be said about its environment, which may not be friendly to business now.
A few factors may have accounted for why Ghana was preferred to Nigeria and maybe others as well. In Nigeria for instance, a bill to suppress free speech and stifle the use of social media has been generating tension in the West African country. The government of Nigeria wants to “regulate” the social media; which of course is against one of Twitter’s policies and vision.