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Nigeria lifts Twitter suspension after more than six-month clampdown

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The Nigerian Government has lifted the suspension of Twitter operations in the country, months after it announced a clampdown on the social media platform.

The suspension was lifted after Twitter agreed to establish “a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022”, the director-general of National Information Technology Development Agency Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Abdullahi headed the Nigerian team that negotiated with Twitter.

Apart from establishing offices in Nigeria, the Nigerian government said Twitter has also agreed to pay applicable tax in the country and “appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities.”

“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight, 13th January 2022,” Abdullahi said.

“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.

“In the Memo, the Minister updated and requested the President’s approval for the lifting based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation.”

Nigeria banned Twitter in June, days after the platform deleted a remark from Buhari’s account, provoking outcry over freedom of expression in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigerian officials defended the ban saying Twitter was used to promote fake news and for destabilising activities, especially by separatists in the southeast.

Buhari’s government and Twitter have been in talks over a list of conditions for ending the suspension, including discussions on taxes, content, and registering locally in Nigeria.

“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 to continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements,” Buhari said in a speech marking Nigeria’s independence day.

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