President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

I’ve directed Twitter ban be lifted in Nigeria, but…. ─Buhari

*President Muhammadu Buhari restates the Nigerian Government’s commitment to ensuring that digital companies use their platforms to enhance the lives of citizens, respect the country’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to months of ban on the operations of the global technology giant in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has said he gave his approval for the suspension of Twitter, a microblogging site and social media platform, to be lifted once the conditions the Federal Government of Nigeria are met.

ConsumerConnect reports President Buhari, who disclosed this development in his national broadcast on the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of the country Friday, October 1, 2021, stated that the Nigerian Government is committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of citizens, respect the country’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety.

Mobile Internet consumers

The President said in his address: “Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.”

It is noted that Nigeria took action against Twitter early June on the grounds that it was being used for activities capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria, a move that sparked outrage and controversy.

Observers have attributed the government’s action to the decision of Twitter to delete a tweet by the President, but the Federal Government insisted that the move had nothing to do with that and was in the interest of the nation.

Nevertheless, in his Independence anniversary speech, Buhari explained the decision, insisting that although social media had many benefits, there were dangers that the government had to address.

He noted: “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.”

Buhari added: “Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.

“To address these negative trends, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria on June 5, 2021, to allow the Government put measures in place to address these challenges.”

Following the Twitter suspension, a Technical Team set up by the Nigerian Government commenced talks with the Big Tech, and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, assured Nigerian consumers that progress had been made regarding talks, and the suspension would soon be lifted.

The President explained Friday the engagement between Nigeria and Twitter was to address “key issues” related to national security and cohesion, registration, physical presence and representation (of Twitter in the country), fair taxation, dispute resolution, and local content.

“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 said of his directive that the suspension should be lifted, but only “if conditions are met.”

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