Nigerians can now access Twitter again without having to use VPNs or having to fear repercussions for doing so. The Nigerian government has lifted the ban on Twitter on January 13th, 2022, over seven months after it ordered telecom providers in the country to block the social network. According to CNN, Reuters and The Financial Times, Nigeria has decided to lift the ban after Twitter agreed to open a local office.
Twitter also had to agree to meet other conditions set by the government, including “managing prohibited publication in line with Nigerian law.” The social network has to pay domestic taxes, as well, and to appoint a representative in the country who’ll be in charge of engaging with local authorities.
If you’ll recall, Nigeria originally suspended Twitter in June 2021 after the website removed a tweet made by President Muhammadu Buhari who used the platform to threaten citizens following attacks on government buildings. Back then, Twitter explained that the post violated its abuse policy. Nigerian authorities shot back by accusing Twitter of allowing its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.” They also warned citizens that they would prosecute those who tried to circumvent the suspension by using VPNs and similar tools. Bloomberg reported back in October that Nigeria was already set to lift the ban, so long as Twitter is used in the country for “business and positive engagements,” but it clearly took a few more months for the agreement to be finalized.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency, said Twitter “has agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built.” The social network has also apparently agreed to work with the country’s government “to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, applicable in almost all developed countries.”