Twitter is working again in Nigeria. The social network had been suspended for 7 months in the most populous country in Africa. The platform had become an important tool for social protest.
Return of Twitter to Nigeria
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria from midnight today”, announced the director of the National Agency for the Development of Information Technology, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, quoted in a press release.
Twitter reacted to his return. “We are happy that Twitter has been restored for everyone in Nigeria”, a spokesperson told AFP. “Our mission in Nigeria — and around the world — is to serve the public conversation. We are deeply committed to Nigeria, where Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement and civic participation”.
Nigerian authorities say that after several months of negotiations, Twitter has finally agreed to all the conditions set by the federal government, particularly in terms of taxation and management of content that does not comply with Nigerian laws. Twitter has also committed to establishing a legal entity in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2022. “Given the influence of Twitter in our democracy, our economy (…) our priority is to adapt, not ban Twitter”, local authorities said. Twitter did not comment Thursday on the terms that led to his suspension being lifted.
A suspension that began in June 2021
The Nigerien president announced in early June 2021 the suspension of Twitter for an indefinite period after having notably accused the social network of having a “suspicious mission” against the government, and of tolerating on its platform the messages of the leader of a separatist group. inciting violence in southeastern Nigeria.
Twitter’s suspension came two days after the social network deleted a post from President Muhammadu Buhari. The Head of State had threatened to “deal with a language they understand” those responsible for the violence in south-eastern Nigeria – attributed by the authorities to Igbo separatists -, reviving the terrible memories of the Biafra war which claimed more than a million lives in the 1960s.