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Just In: Buhari lists conditions for lifting Twitter ban

By Idowu Abdullahi

President Muhammadu Buhari has diclosed that his administration was ready to lift ban imposed on operation of American microblogging site, Twitter, provided the company respect the rule of engagement and agree that the platform would encourage propagation of positive action across the country.

He said that to lift the ban on use of the social media platform across the country, the country must be assured of Twitter management’s commitment to respect the country’s rule, among others measures guiding peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.

He added that what had continued to hold back the platform operation across Nigeria was that both parties were yet to reached agreements on several areas.

The president stated this while addressing Nigerians during a nationwide broadcast as part of activities to mark the nation’s 61st Independence Anniversary on Friday in Abuja, adding that while the country was working toward fully embracing digital economy, the recent events have shown that it was important the government take strict actions in protecting the online space.

According to him, as we embrace the digital economy in Nigeria, we are fully aware of the prospects and the perils. Our policies have been developed to enable Nigerians to take advantage of the prospects and avoid the perils of digital technologies.

He said that: 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. 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,” Buhari said.

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