Why We Lifted Twitter Suspension – FG

The Federal government has revealed how it negotiated with Twitter to lift the suspension it placed on the operation of the micro-blogging platform in June 2021.

Why We Lifted Twitter Suspension - FG
Lai Mohammed

Recalled on June 5 the federal government banned Twitter from operating in Nigeria.

The ban occurred after Twitter deleted tweets made by the president, Muhammadu Buhari. However, on 12 January 2022, the Nigerian Government lifted the ban after Twitter agreed to establish “a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said Twitter negotiated with Nigerians to lift the suspension.

The Minister said this at the commencement of the 13th edition of the ‘PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023)’, featuring the Minister of Women Affairs on Monday.

The PMB Administration Scorecard series was launched on October 19th 2022 to showcase and document the achievements of the Buhari Administration.

Lai Mohammed gave the explanation in reaction to claims by former staff of the platform Twitter staff that Twitter did not negotiate with the Nigerian Government in the wake of its suspension in the country.

According to him, the negotiation of the Nigerian government with the owners of the platform began on June 11th 2021 with a letter to President Buhari from Twitter’s Vice President in charge of Public Policy, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Sinead McSweeney.

He said McSweeney had asked for a meeting with the Nigerian government over Twitter suspension.

“That letter kick-started a number of activities that culminated in the extensive negotiation,” the Minister said while displaying a copy of that letter.

“After the letter, the Federal Government announced its team to discuss with Twitter.

“The team, chaired by the Minister of Information and Culture, also comprised the Attorney General of the Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice, Honourable Ministers of Communications and Digital Economy; Foreign Affairs as well as Works and Housing, Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency,” he said.

The Minister added that after the composition of our team, the Nigerian government received another letter from a group, Albright Stonebridge Group, at the behest of Twitter which also listed names of the team from the company that will enter into discussion with Nigeria.

He said the team was headed by Sinead Sweeney, Twitter’s Vice President, of Europe, Middle East and Africa and also included Karen White, Senior Director, Public Policy,
Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa; Ronan Costello, Senior Public Policy, Manager, Africa, Europe, Middle East; Emmanuel Lubanzadio, Head of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa; Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Senior Adviser, Albright Stonebridge Group.

Mohammed said the negotiation between the Nigerian and Twitter team eventually lead to the lifting of operations of Twitter in the country in January 2022

“The back-and-forth negotiation culminated in a series of agreements that paved the way for the lifting of the Twitter suspension in January this year.

“Gentlemen, with the facts that we have supplied, you can now see that the fellow who reportedly alleged that Twitter did not negotiate with Nigeria is either being economical with the truth or didn’t even understand the workings of the company where he worked,” the Minister said.

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