Nigeria is looking forward to lifting the ban on Twitter by the year end, as the micro-blogging site has complied to most of the terms and conditions, and is expected to comply with the rest soon. Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed said on Thursday that the government is expecting to lift the ban on Twitter before the end of the year. Nigerian govt had suspended the social media platform in June after it had deleted President’s tweet warning secessionists against violence.
The minister said that Twitter has agreed to comply with 7 of the 10 requirements set by the government, and the govt is waiting for the company’s response on three pending issues. “Twitter has met almost 70% of the government’s terms and conditions, many of them quite fundamental and important,” the minister told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday. The remaining terms include setting up a local office, paying taxes in the country and cooperating with the government to regulate content and harmful tweets on the platform.
Mohammed said that he hopes that Twitter will comply with the terms soon, so that the ban can be lifted by the year end. “We certainly want to put this behind us before the end of the year,” he said. The minister said that Twitter officials met with the officials of the Nigerian govt last week, and it was quite encouraging. However, Twitter has declined to comment on the development.
The minister also said that contrary to the reports, Twitter was suspended not for deleting president Buhari’s tweet, but for becoming the platform of separatists. Her said that Twitter’s use by the banned group Indigenous People of Biafra was the reason of the ban. The Bukhari govt had banned the IPOB as a terrorist organisation because it wants to establish an independent nation in south-eastern Nigeria. The group has been held responsible for several attacks on the security forces by the govt.
“Twitter became the platform of choice for a group that was targeting policemen, killing policemen, killing the military and promoting the interest of one ethnic group against another. For national security, we suspended the operations,” Mohammed said. He added that Twitter made their platform the platform of choice for separatists, and it was suspended because it threatened national unity.
On June 4th, Nigeria had banned Twitter from the country for interfering in the country’s politics, hours after the platform had deleted a tweet by president Muhammadu Buhari warning against secessionist movements. In the tweet, Buhari had made a reference to the country’s 30-month civil war in 1967-1970, and had warned “those who wanted the government to fail” to desist from fomenting trouble.