NIGERIA’S federal government is confident that it will soon be able to lift its ban on social media platform Twitter as the company has agreed to seven of the 10 demands it made including opening an office in Nigeria.
In June this year, the Nigerian government banned the use of Twitter across the country after the platform deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari. This ban attracted widespread condemnation from civil society groups with the Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (Serap) and 176 concerned Nigerians taking the government to the Economic Community of West Africa (Ecowas) court.
Since then, negotiations have been ongoing with the two sides as Nigerian celebrities and businesses have also attacked the ban, saying it is costing them money. According to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister, there is now an end in sight and both sides are confident of an amicable settlement.
Speaking in Washington, Alhaji Mohammed said: “We believe that even the other three outstanding demands are not really about whether they agreed or not but about timing and scheduling. That is what gave me the confidence that we are getting nearer to an agreement.”
He added that among the demands made from Twitter was for the platform to register as a Nigerian company, pay taxes from revenue made from the country and ensure that harmful content are regulated. He, however, said the Twitter ban had been very effective in the country because they see less harmful and injurious content on social media, adding that they had been more conscious and alert to injurious content likely to threaten national security.
“As recently as last week, we exchanged correspondence with Twitter and when I left home a few days ago, we are expecting a reply from them. It is rather, more left with Twitter to respond to grey areas that we asked them to look into.
“We are not inflexible in our negotiations with Twitter because we recognise both the positive and negative aspects of social media,” Alhaji Mohammed added.
Mohammed Nami, the executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Firs), has said that the impending registration of Twitter and other social media platforms in the country is expected to boost the agency’s projected revenue for 2022 by about N5trn. He said that Firs has set a revenue target of N10.1trn for 2022, noting that the projected revenue for 2022 is about N5trn above that of 2021 because of the expected registration of social media platforms.