Nigeria lifts ban on Twitter after 7 months | News | DW | 13.01.2022

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Nigeria lifts ban on Twitter after 7 months

Nigeria had shut out more than 200 million people from the social networking site. Nigeria's IT development agency said the US tech company had met key conditions.

A man used his mobile phone to read headline news on Twitter inside an office in Lagos

Twitter will return as of midnight in Nigeria

Nigeria's government reversed its ban on Twitter effective at midnight on Wednesday evening.

More than 200 million people could reconnect to the social networking site seven months after authorities had blocked it.

"The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari... has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight," said a tweet from the director-general of the country's National Information Technology Development Agency Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi. 

Why was Twitter blocked in Nigeria?

Twitter was blocked in Nigeria on June 4 as the government cited "the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence."

The government's decision came shortly after one of Buhari's posts, which threatened to handle separatist rebels "in the language they will understand," was censored, triggering criticism that the Twitter ban was retaliatory.

Officials said the action was taken in "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."

Watch video 01:46

Nigeria suspends Twitter indefinitely

Both the Nigerian government Twitter have been in talks since over restoring the service based on a set of conditions.

Popular platform for discourse

Twitter reportedly met key conditions, among them that it would open an office in Nigeria, appoint a country head, and meet its tax obligations.

Twitter has said the block was deeply worrying, calling free and open internet access a basic right. The platform has a major role in political discourse in Nigeria. 

As many as 40 million people, some 20%, of Nigeria's population, are believed to have a Twitter account.

Hashtags such as #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during anti-police brutality protests in 2020, garnered international attention.

ar/aw (AP, Reuters)