From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Nigerians went wild in celebration, Wednesday evening, as the Federal Government finally lifted the ban on the operations of microblogging and social networking service, Twitter effective from 12am January 13.
The social media app was suspended on June 5, 2021 as the government cited persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence. Economic watchers say billions of naira has been lost since the ban as most Nigerians use it as a platform to run their businesses.
However, Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) while announcing the cherry news, said it was based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation.
“The immediate and remote cause of the suspension was the unceasing use of the platform by some unscrupulous elements for subversive purposes and criminal activities, propagation of fake news, and polarising Nigerians along tribal and religious lines, among others. These issues bordering on national security, cohesion and the effects of the abuse of the Twitter platform forced the the Federal Government to suspend the operation of Twitter to address the direct and collateral issues around its operations in Nigeria.
“The new global reality is that digital platforms and their operators wield enormous influence over the fabric of our society, social interaction and economic choices. These platforms can be used as either a tool or a weapon.
Every nation is grappling with how to balance its usage efficiently. Without balancing, every citizen’s security, privacy, social well-being, and development are at stake. “Therefore, our action is a deliberate attempt to recalibrate our relationship with Twitter to achieve the maximum mutual benefits for our nation without jeopardising the justified interests of the Company. Our engagement has been very respectful, cordial, and successful.
“The process of resolving this impasse between the FGN and Twitter Inc. has helped lay a foundation for a mutually beneficial future with endless possibilities. Twitter is a platform of choice for many Nigerians ranging from young innovators to public sector officials who find it helpful to engage their audience. Therefore, our engagement will help Twitter improve and develop more business models to cover a broader area in Nigeria. Furthermore, the FGN looks forward to providing a conducive environment for Twitter and other global tech companies to achieve their potential and be sustainably profitable in Nigeria”, the statement noted.
Inuwa hailed all Nigerians, especially the vibrant Nigerian youths who have borne with the long wait to resolve this impasse, stressing that the government was happy to say that the gains made from this shared national sacrifice are immeasurable.