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Nigerians reject conditional lifting of #TwitterBan

Pascal Oparada

Nigerians have rejected the lifting of the Twitter ban if it is based on any conditions.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that the ban be lifted if the social networking company has met the conditions laid down by his government.

Buhari said this during his televised broadcast on Friday to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary.

He listed the conditions to include the fact that Twitter must pay attention to national security and cohesion; registration, physical presence and representation in Nigeria; fair taxation; dispute resolution and local content.

“As a country, we are committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of our citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety,” he said.

“Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.”

The Nigerian government suspended Twitter’s operations in Nigeria in June after the social media network deleted a controversial tweet by President Buhari in which he threatened Nigerians from the southeast with violence.

The suspension was seen by many Nigerians, activists and the international community as a clampdown on freedom of expression.

Buoyed by the tepid response from the international community to follow up to their initial calls on the Nigerian government to back down on its crackdown on the platform, the Buhari’s government has since doubled down on its resolve, reports Premium Times. Nigerians, who have had to use virtual private networks (VPN) to bypass the restrictions, said they prefer to continue with the ban as it is if the government will attach conditions to it.

” If PMB will leave Twitter banned for the rest of his milito-presidential tenure, he should @ least do it with his full chest. As the General that he is.

Can’t be making outrageous demands of Twitter & hiding under conditional lifting. Not the stuff of brave soldiers.

#TwitterBan,” Fisayo Soyombo said on Twitter.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it has rejected the conditions imposed on Twitter before the ban would be lifted.

“We reject ‘conditional’  lifting of the ban on Twitter in Nigeria by the Buhari administration.

“President Buhari must immediately and unconditionally lift the illegal suspension of Twitter, and allow Nigerians to freely exercise their right to freedom of expression,” SERAP said.