Nigeria has finally lifted the Twitter ban imposed in the country seven months ago. The Nigerian government suspended the social media network after the company deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari. Following the ban, a number of internet providers blocked Twitter access to users.
The Nigerian government had set a number of conditions for Twitter before lifting the ban. The social networking app has reportedly agreed to a number of conditions, including one requiring them to open a local office in the country.
The social networking app had deleted President Buhari’s statement referencing the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War, vowing to address “those misbehaving today” in “the language they will understand”
Mohammed had cited Twitter as one of the social networks that had enabled disunity by allowing inflammatory posts. Some users had continued accessing the site using virtual private networks (VPNs) but the government promised to crack down on those who continued to tweet, including media organizations.
Twitter had written to the Nigerian President seeking dialogue after the network was suspended. The president put together a team led by Information Minister Lai Mohammed to conduct reconciliatory discussions.
According to Nigeria’s information technology development agency, the social media company’s choice to register in the country demonstrated its commitment to the people of Nigeria.
A section of members of the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Information, Justice, and Communication had said that the move was meant to stifle free speech. They criticized the ban, saying the country was taking a step towards autocracy.
The lifting of the ban means millions of Nigerians can now use the platform again. Last year, activists on Twitter used the hashtag #EndSars to garner support during rallies against police brutality, gaining worldwide attention.