December 2, 2021

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Suspension: FG enters into negotiation with Twitter

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami,  the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, to dialogue with Twitter over its suspension from Nigeria.

The Federal Government had suspended Twitter indefinitely over alleged interference.

Despite pressure from the international community and civil right groups, the government had maintained its stance.

But in a statement on Tuesday, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, announced that a team had been set up to dialogue with Twitter.

“Following the indefinite suspension of its operations in Nigeria, for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, Twitter wrote to President Buhari seeking to engage with the Federal Government over the suspension, with a view to charting a

path forward,” Mohammed said in a statement by his spokesman, Segun Adeyemi.

Nigeria’s row with Twitter began after the social media platform yanked off a tweet of Buhari on Civil War.

ECOWAS Court bars govt from prosecuting users

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja  has restrained the Federal Government from prosecuting Twitter users.

After the government banned Twitter, many Nigerians had circumvented the ban through the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

But the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had threatened to prosecute those violating the ban.

The National Broadcasting Commission had also been ordered all radio and television stations to deactivate their twitter accounts.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 176 concerned Nigerians had challenged the action of the government.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the court restrained the government and its agents from “unlawfully imposing sanctions or doing anything whatsoever to harass, intimidate, arrest or prosecute Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s), media houses, radio and television broadcast stations, the plaintiffs and other Nigerians who are Twitter users, pending the hearing and determination of this suit.”

The court gave the order after hearing arguments from the solicitor to SERAP, Femi Falana and the lawyer to the government, Maimuna Shiru.

Addressing the House of Representatives’ joint Committee on Communication, Justice, Information and Culture and National Security and Intelligence yesterday, Lai Mohammed said because of the threat posed by Twitter to Nigeria’s security, the government suspended its activities of twitter in the country.