Twitter agrees to set up office in Nigeria

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The suspension of Twitter’s activities in Nigeria may soon be overturned as the federal government says it has resolved some of the issues it raised with the social media platform.

The government had on June 5 restricted Twitter from operating in Nigeria following the deleting of tweets made by President Muhammadu Buhari, who had threatened to treat members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the language they understand.

While responding to questions on the issue on Wednesday, Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, told state house correspondents that progress has been made in resolving the impasse following a series of meetings.

The minister said most of the conditions given to the platform have been accepted.

He said Twitter has also agreed to set up an office in Nigeria but the company maintained that the earliest it can happen is 2022.

In June this year, Nigeria indefinitely suspending Twitter’s operations in the country, two days after Twitter deleted a post published by the country’s Head of State Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Nigerian government, the tweet threatened to punish regional secessionists for attacks on government buildings.

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The news, which the information ministry announced on Twitter itself, sparked outrage among social media users in Nigeria, where Twitter is hugely popular.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the government had acted because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

The move by Nigeria, where Twitter enjoys biggest following was strongly castigated by rights groups by social media users.

“This repressive action is a clear attempt to censor dissent & stifle the civic space,” Human Rights Warch researcher Anietie Ewang said on Twitter.

The United States tech giant said Buhari’s post threatening to punish groups blamed for attacks on government buildings had violated Twitter’s “abusive behaviour” policy and suspended his account for 12 hours.

In April, Lai had reacted angrily when Twitter chose neighbouring Ghana for its first African office.

He said the company had been influenced by media misrepresentations of Nigeria, including reports of crackdowns on protests against police brutality last year.

And now, the office will be put up in Nigeria where the tech giant enjoys huge following perhaps to settle the scuffle.

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