Nigerian president Buhari orders ‘conditional’ lifting of Twitter ban as country celebrates independence day

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced on Friday that the ban on Twitter’s operations in Nigeria, which was imposed in June, had been lifted conditionally. 

Buhari made the announcement during a countrywide broadcast to Nigerians to commemorate the country’s 61st anniversary of independence. 

He noted social media as a vital tool, but expressed sadness that some users have exploited it to plan, coordinate, and carry out illegal operations, spread fake news, and incite ethnic and religious hatred.

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“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.” said the president.

He continued: “However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination.

“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 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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