- The federal government says it has been formally contacted by Twitter over the suspension of its operations in Nigeria
- Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, said the microblogging platform said it is ready to dialogue with the FG
- The minister urged Nigerians to understand the FG's position over the Twitter suspension, noting that it is for the sake of the country's peaceful existence
FCT, Abuja - Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, says Twitter has formally written to the federal government to seek dialogue on issues that led to the indefinite suspension of its operations in Nigeria.
The minister confirmed this on Tuesday, June 15, when he featured on a Radio Nigeria call-in programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, The Nation reported.
“I can confirm that Twitter has written the federal government that they are ready to talk.
“As we have always maintained, the door is not locked and we are open-minded but Twitter must work towards it."
Mohammed reiterated the government’s position that it would not tolerate any platform that would be used to destabilise the country.
He said among other conditions for Twitter to resume operation in Nigeria, there must be an agreement as to what contents it could post, Daily Nigerians also reported.
Twitter ban: Social media regulations becoming global practice
According to the information minister, regulation of social media platforms is becoming a global practice.
He said most countries were just waking up to the fact that the platforms were becoming more powerful than even government and needed to be regulated.
Mohammed added that even the European Union that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper.
Twitter ban: Regulation different from stifling press freedom - Lai Mohammed
The information minister also noted that regulation of social media was not synonymous with stifling press freedom.
“We must not confuse press freedom with irresponsibility.
“How can you stay in your country and allow your own platform to be used to propagate war in another country?"
The minister reiterated that Twitter suspended to ensure that no particular platform is used to cause war in Nigeria and to ensure that whoever is making money in the country pays tax.
Appeal to Nigerians
Mohammed urged Nigerians to understand the position of the federal government.
“We have no intention to stifle people’s freedom or to cut off the source of livelihood of anybody.
“There must be a country devoid of war before we can talk of freedom and a source of living."
The federal government on Friday, June 4 suspended indefinitely the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.
ECOWAS court takes action on Twitter ban in Nigeria
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Court of Justice has reportedly served a hearing notice on the federal government in the suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 Nigerians over the suspension of Twitter.
SERAP made the disclosure on its Facebook page on Monday, June 14.
The advocacy organisation stated that the court fixed June 22, 2021, for the hearing of the application for interim orders in the suit.
PDP governors criticise Twitter ban
In a similar development, state governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have faulted the Buhari administration over its decision to indefinitely suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
They said the ban on Twitter will worsen the country’s unemployment crisis, noting that the ban would hurt Nigerian youths who do not have adequate access to employment and have been relying on Twitter to earn a legitimate income.