The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved a conditional lifting of the ban on microblogging giant Twitter. The announcement was made today by the President during a broadcast to celebrate Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary in Abuja.
Recall that Twitter was banned by the Federal government on the 5th of June this year, following a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission, after the popular microblogging platform deleted a tweet by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture – Lai Mohammed, Twitter was banned to protect the corporate existence of Nigerians. But with the ban, the economic existence of many Nigerians became threatened.
Putting a hold on Twitter meant a stop to the income of individuals and businesses who use the platform for business advertisements and other enterprises. Nigeria also suffered. In just 10 days of the ban, newspaper reports and statistics showed that Nigeria had lost at least N24 billion naira, adding that the nation would continue to lose more revenue as the days go by if the decision remains unchanged. In 100 days of the ban, statistics showed that Nigeria had lost N247.61 billion.
Later in September, the Federal Government of Nigeria, via the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that it was in talks with Twitter, and the result is what we now see– the lifting of Twitter’s ban.
According to the Federal Government, the operations of Twitter were suspended so that measures that will address identified negative trends exhibited by the social media platform be put in place. President Muhammadu Buhari said: “Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.”
He added: “The Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and have addressed a number of key issues. These are National Security and Cohesion; Registration, Physical presence and Representation; Fair Taxation; Dispute Resolution; and Local Content.”
According to the Federal Government, the key issues that led to the ban of Twitter are being addressed, and that the ban was lifted conditionally to benefit Nigerians – to allow them to continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagement –what a way to celebrate independence!