Country unbans Twitter after months-long shutdown

The social media platform agreed to a number of conditions in order to resume operations in Nigeria following a seven-month ban

Nigeria has lifted a nationwide ban on Twitter, allowing its 200 million residents to continue using the site after it was shut down for months, with tech officials saying the firm accepted certain conditions to start back up.

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the ban lifted on Wednesday, the director-general of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi said, noting the move will take effect on Thursday.

“Our action is a deliberate attempt to recalibrate our relationship with Twitter to achieve the maximum mutual benefits for our nation without jeopardizing the justified interests of the company. Our engagement has been very respectful, cordial, and successful,” the agency head continued.

In exchange for ending the prohibition of the site, Twitter agreed to register itself in Nigeria sometime in the first quarter of this year, as well as to appoint a company representative for the country, follow its tax obligations and conduct itself with a “with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built,” Abdullahi said.

Twitter, which earlier called the ban “deeply concerning,” has yet to comment on the purported deal, though an unnamed company spokesperson cited by TechCrunch said it is eager to see service “restored very soon” in Africa’s most populous nation. 

The Nigerian government first suspended Twitter’s operations “indefinitely” last June, after the platform removed a post by President Buhari for alleged “abusive” rhetoric toward armed separatist forces active in the country’s southeast. The administration said the site was “undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” and insisted on the president’s right to express himself on security matters.

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