Nigeria’s government said Wednesday it had ended the suspension of Twitter, seven months after the social media giant was banned in a dispute over a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria halted the Twitter operations in June after the company deleted a comment by Buhari, sparking an international outcry over freedom of expression.
The government and Twitter have since been in talks to restore the service based on a series of conditions, including the registration of Twitter for its activities in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari… has requested the lifting of the suspension of the Twitter operation in Nigeria with effect from 12:00 this evening,” said a statement from the country, an AFP journalist said, AFP journalist Kashifu Inuwa Abdulla hi, who was also in negotiations with Twitter with the committee, said the social media giant had agreed to regulations to restore the service.
This included establishing a legal entity in Nigeria, appointing a country representative and compliance with tax obligations.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, Twitter said the blocking was deeply concerning and called free and open Internet access a fundamental right.
The ban shocked many in Nigeria, where Twitter played a major role in political discourse, with the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during protests against the brutality of the Police in 2020.
Nigerian officials had criticized Twitter for deleting Buhari’s comment while accusing the platform of allowing activity that threatened the country’s existence.
This was a reference to social media statements by separatist agitators from the south of the country, where a civil war five decades ago killed a million people.
< p>“The immediate and remote reason for the suspension was the incessant use of the platform by some unscrupulous elements for subversive purposes and criminal activities, spreading fake news and polarizing Nigerians,” said Abdullahi.
Twitter deleted a comment in which Buhari cited Nigeria’s civil war in the context of a warning to those responsible for the recent unrest in the country’s southeast.
After the ban, officials also cited support for then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for last year’s #EndSARS protests in Nigeria against police brutality.
Approximately 40 million people, or about 20 percent of Nigeria’s population ng have a Twitter, according to local researchers, and many used the platform to do business.
The United States, the European Union and Canada were among those who joined rights groups to condemn the ban as harmful to freedom of expression in Condemn Africa’s countries populous country.