Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Twitter says it is working with Nigeria to restore service ‘very soon’

US-based social media giant Twitter said on Wednesday that it recently met with the Nigerian government to discuss the suspension of its operations in the country and how to resolve the matter.

Nigeria’s minister for information Lai Mohammed said earlier on Wednesday that the country’s authorities and Twitter have agreed on some deals that will ease off the suspension.

While Twitter did not mention reaching any agreement with Nigeria, it, however, said it was working on seeing that Nigerians can start using the platforms soon.

Many Nigerians are still using Twitter by installing virtual private networks on their devices.

“Our aim is to chart a path forward to the restoration of Twitter for everyone in Nigeria,” Twitter said in a statement.

“We look forward to ongoing discussions with the Nigerian government and seeing the service restored very soon.”

Nigeria suspended Twitter operations in June days after the social media giant deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account.

Twitter said the tweet violated its “abusive behaviour” rules.

Nigerian officials defended the suspension, saying Twitter was used to promote destabilising activities, especially by separatist agitators in the southeast.

“The ban on Twitter will soon be lifted as we are getting close to reaching full agreement,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters in Abuja.

“We have agreed on some areas, hopefully in the next few days or weeks we will conclude.”

The UN, EU, US and Britain were among the foreign governments that joined rights groups to condemn the ban as damaging to freedom of expression in Africa’s most populous country.

The block shocked Nigeria’s hyper-connected youth in a country where 40 million people have a Twitter account or around 20 percent of the population, according to NOI polls, a local research organisation.

Twitter has played a key role for activists in Nigeria, with the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during anti-police brutality protests last year.

The ban decision came just two days after the platform deleted a tweet from Buhari’s own account for violating its rules.

He had referenced Nigeria’s civil war five decades ago when one million people died, in the context of a warning to those behind recent unrest in the country’s southeast.

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