The suspension of Twitter in Nigeria continues to dominate the news. On Wednesday, the Nigerian authorities revealed the conditions that the social network will have to comply with before the suspension is lifted.
Suspended since last Friday in Nigeria where it has 40 million users, the social network of the blue bird will be able to resume its activities in this country under certain conditions. « First of all, Twitter must register as a company in Nigeria, to obtain a licence from the Broadcasting Commission, which is the regulatory body. And it must agree not to allow its platform to be used by those who promote activities contrary to the existence of society in Nigeria, » the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said on Wednesday 9 June 2021.
During his speech, Lai Mohammed also attempted to counter the argument that Twitter was suspended for deleting a tweet by the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari: « We are not banning Twitter just because Twitter was… mean to a particular person, no! We have a specific reason: Twitter continues to be the platform of choice for the Biafran separatist movement and we believe that no country in the world would accept that, » he said.
Whatever the underlying reasons for the decision, the suspension of Twitter suits the Nigerian regime well as it gets rid of the platform most used by activists and other opposition leaders. According to NOIPolls, Nigerians « use Twitter to give a voice to the voiceless and engage the government on issues they believe are going wrong in the country in real time.
While waiting for the suspension to be lifted, many Nigerians are bypassing it. « Guess what? The only people who have been silenced for now seem to be the government itself. Yes, some companies are not tweeting because they clearly don’t want to be punished, but the citizens they were trying to marginalise are still tweeting, » Gbenga Sesan of the Paradigm Initiative told the BBC.