The blue bird will be able to make its return to the most populous country in Africa. The government announced on Wednesday evening the lifting of the seven-month suspension on Twitter in Nigeria, where the social network has been an important tool of social protest.
“President Muhammadu Buhari approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria from midnight today,” announced the director of the National Agency for the Development of Information Technology, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi. At midnight thirty, the social network was however still not accessible from Lagos, the economic capital of the country.
The priority is “to adapt, not to ban Twitter”
In the statement, the Nigerian authorities say that after several months of negotiations, Twitter has acceded to “all the conditions set by the federal government”, in particular in terms of taxation and management of content that does not respect the laws of the country. The network has “also committed to establishing a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022”. Given its influence “in our democracy, our economy (…) our priority is to adapt, and not to ban Twitter”, add the authorities.
Abuja announced in early June 2021 the suspension of Twitter for “an indefinite period” after having notably accused the social network of having a “suspicious mission” against the Nigerian government, and of tolerating messages from the leader of a group on its platform. separatist inciting violence in the south-east of the country. The suspension came two days after the social network suppressed a message from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to “treat with a language they understand” those responsible for the violence.
A very connected youth
The suspension of Twitter, then the government order to the broadcast media to delete their accounts in a “patriotic” gesture, had aroused deep consternation in Nigeria. The European Union, Great Britain, the United States and Canada then deplored this decision.
In the country, 75% of the 210 million inhabitants are under 24, according to the United Nations: a very large youth, but also ultra-connected. About 20% of the population say they have a Twitter account. In recent years, the platform has played an important role in the public debate, with hashtags like #BringBackOurGirls, which went viral during the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014, or #EndSARS, which gave its name in 2020. to the vast movement against police brutality and against power.
After the suspension, users had downloaded VPNs in huge numbers, allowing access to Twitter anywhere in the world, and the “VPN App” search had become the second largest search in the country, despite threats from the government against it. any offender.