The Twitter ban has been condemned by many Nigerians and the international community as an attack on the freedom of expression and an attempt to stifle free speech.
As part of its controversial move to regulate social media, the Nigerian government said on Wednesday that Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants must register in the country.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed also said Twitter, which was recently suspended by the Nigerian government, has called for a ‘high-level’ discussion.
Mr Mohammmed said these in Abuja while briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
He repeated the government’s stance that Twitter was suspended because it provided an avenue for people threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
He claimed that the owner of Twitter helped to fund the recent #EndSARS protest and is also allowing the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to use the platform to call for the killing of Nigerian security operatives.
He said Twitter failed to take down Mr Kanu’s tweets despite repeated requests to do so.
Reports shows that Twitter recently deleted some of Mr Kanu’s controversial tweet. This was after the Nigerian government suspended Twitter’s operations in the country after the social media giant deleted a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Mohammed said one of the conditions that must be met before the Nigerian government lifts the suspension on Twitter is that the social media firm must be registered in Nigeria as a business concern.
He said other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram must also be registered in the country.
Mr Mohammed, however, said that the Buhari administration was not trying to stifle freedom of expression by its ban of Twitter, saying Nigerian users can migrate to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that Twitter and other social media service providers, also known as over-the-top (OTT) media service providers, had been cheating Nigeria of due taxes.
The Minister disclosed this while speaking to State House Correspondents after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the federal government had directed that all OTT service providers that wish to continue operating in Nigeria must be registered as Nigerian companies, so that they can pay their due taxes.
Speaking on the reason for the suspension of Twitter, the Minister insisted that the microblogging platform was suspended because it provided an avenue for people that are threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
He also disclosed that investigations had revealed that the Founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, was one of the funders of the #ENDSARS protest in Nigeria in 2020.
Asked to react to the rejection of the ban on Twitter by the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives, the Minister said they were entitled to their opinion.
He said freedom of speech has not been stifled by the suspension of Twitter as he maintained that Nigerians can still use other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
He also denied that the suspension is not effective arguing that Twitter is losing money as a result of the action.