Nigeria government lifts Twitter ban after 7 months

After a seven-month ban on Twitter Inc., Nigerians have finally given the go-ahead for resumption of its operations after the social network agreed to various conditions. 

On Wednesday, the National Information Technology Department Agency (NITDA) announced the lifting of the ban and the conditions agreed on. It said Twitter will have a legal presence in the country and appoint a representative for government talks when necessary.                                                                                                                                                                     

According to NITDA, they shut down the social media platform because “unscrupulous elements” used it for “subversive purposes and criminal activities, propagating fake news, and polarising Nigerians along tribal and religious lines,”. The company is said to also have deleted one of the Nigerian President’s tweets for violating its rules.

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This new understanding between Twitter and the Nigerian government will provide “economic and training opportunities” as the San Francisco-based social media giant “continues to consider expanding its presence in Nigeria,” NITDA said. In April, Twitter decided to place its first product and engineering team on the African continent in Ghana, applauding the country as “a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet.”

Twitter equally released a statement in response to their ban upliftment and said it is “deeply committed to Nigeria”

Before the Nigerian government banned Twitter, it was the 6th most-used social media platform in the country. Hence its banning caused a lot of upheaval in the country especially amongst the youths even know quite a number found ways to use the platform via private networks.

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Twitter’s 222-days ban cost the Nigerian economy about $1.5 billion according to Netblocks of Shutdown Tools.

Amnesty International a few days after Twitter’s ban called the act “illegal” and “an attack on the right to freedom of expression”.

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Criticizing “those who prioritized politics over patriotism and exhibited disingenuous righteousness” over the suspension, Labor Minister Festus Keyamo said “Nigeria is eventually better off for it” on his Twitter page.

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