After seven months, President Muhammadu Buhari lifted the ban on Twitter operations in the country effective from 12 am Thursday.
The development was contained in a statement on Wednesday signed by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement, Kashifu Abdullahi.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12 am tonight, January 13, 2022.
“The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami,” the statement read.
Buhari banned Twitter on 5 June 2021 after the social media giant deleted a tweet that violated its policy.
The tweet was said to contain a genocidal tone as the president threatened to treat secessionists in the southeast region of the country “in the language they understand.”
The tweet was seen as insensitive to the plight of Igbos and the victims of the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70.
The Federal Government however denied it suspended Twitter because of the president’s deleted tweet. Instead, it said the social media company’s operations were capable of causing Nigeria’s downfall.
Nigerians have since resorted to using a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass government censorship.
Reacting to the lifting of Twitter suspension on Wednesday, @firstladyship tweeted, “Jobs & billions were lost to Twitter ban. People & companies stayed away from Twitter VPN. More Nigerians left Nigeria under the APC than in any previous government. The damage to the economy is permanent. So lifting the ban is inconsequential. Ready your PVCs & reject the APC.”
@FS_Yusuf_ wrote, “I am happy the #TwitterBan is over and I owe it all to the magnificent technology of VPN. I truly appreciate that tech. But I will never forget the highhandedness of the @MBuhari regime.”
“There is nothing to celebrate about the #TwitterBan They did it because the election is here. They need Twitter, more than any other social media network, to run ridiculous PR,” he added.
Researcher and journalist tweeted, “Not FG lifting the #TwitterBan 13 months to elections, so they can come back and use this same social media to campaign. Affliction shall not rise a second time. #KeepitOn.”
Columnist Gimba Kakanda tweeted, “What #TwitterBan achieved is silencing the pro-government and creating an echo chamber in which the government no longer has dignified defenders. I’m sure the clowns who came up with the idea thought they would be hurting everyday citizens. It’s an absolutely disastrous strategy.”
Civil society organisation Enough is Enough Nigeria commented, “214 (sic) days after the #TwitterBan, the Nigerian Government will be back on Twitter. Despite the ban, many Nigerians still had access to the site using a VPN. What did Nigeria gain from the ban?”
As of the time of filing this report, Twitter has yet to react to the development.