Three weeks after banning Twitter, the Nigerian government has approved a team of Ministers to oversee the negotiation process with the microblogging site.
This was disclosed by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Segun Adeyemi, today, June 22, 2021.
The team is headed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed. It also comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and other relevant government agencies.
The heavily criticised ban occurred after Twitter deleted the now infamous tweet by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for violating its hateful conduct policy.
The sequence of events that have followed includes the restrictions placed on media houses from tweeting or sourcing news on Twitter, a dramatic increase in the use of VPNs by Nigerians, and rumours of an Internet firewall.
Twitter had made known its intention to negotiate with the Federal Government on June 11, saying that it was “ready to meet for an open discussion to address mutual concerns and see the service restored.”
While this is a step in the right direction, the negotiation results would tell if Nigerians can once again enjoy Twitter’s services.
It also begs the question of if this is the best move for Twitter — a platform known for free speech — considering the Nigerian government’s willingness to censor the Internet?