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The Nigerian government has lifted the seven months ban on the social media platform – Twitter, in the country, but Nigerians seem ‘uninterested’.
You will recall that Muhammadu Buhari-led administration placed an indefinite suspension on Twitter on June 4, 2021, after the micro-blogging platform took down a tweet by the president.
The action by the government was met with backlash from citizens and other concerned parties. But the government remained adamant and held to its guns for seven months.
However, after lifting the ban, if the government was expecting some cheers and excitement from Nigerian citizens, then they would undoubtedly be disappointed.
Although the news that the Nigerian government has lifted the ban trended online, it was basically as a result of the memes used in criticizing the government. One thing the government did not know – or probably did, was that Nigerians never stopped the use of Twitter despite the ban.
VPNs Save The Day?
Through the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is readily available in both paid and free versions, Nigerians never left twitter despite the ban. During the period, the only persons and organizations that did not ‘publicly’ run their accounts were the Presidency and state-owned media organizations.
So, when the news that the government has decided to lift the ban after it said ‘Twitter has agreed to its demands’, Nigerians were far from interested in the update.
Twitter Reacts to the News
In what looked like an obligation, Twitter put out a message on the official account to acknowledge the news saying:
“We are pleased that Twitter has been restored for everyone in Nigeria,” the tweet read.
“Our mission in Nigeria and around the world is to serve the public conversation.
Also reacting to the announcement by the Nigerian government, Twitter said it was delighted by the news by the government to restore services to citizens in Africa’s most populous Black nation.
The Controversial Suspension
You will recall that the world was thrown into shock on June 4, 2021, when news broke that the Nigerian government had placed an indefinite ban on Twitter. Naturally, the question on everyone’s lips was ‘Nigeria’?
According to the Nigerian government, the decision became imperative after what is referred to as a conspiracy by the social media platform to undermine “Nigeria’s corporate existence” by spreading fake news that has “violent consequences”.
What actually transpired was that the government suspended the micro-blogging site after it took down a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, which was seen by many as threatening violence against Nigerians of Igbo origin.
In addition to the ban, the government instructed all broadcasting stations in the country to suspend “patronage” of the platform. It described its further use by the broadcast stations as “unpatriotic.”
Twitter Didn’t Apologize?
Despite the government saying that the ban was lifted after Twitter’ agreed’ to its terms, many critics believe this is far from the truth.
After the ban, despite the calls by the Nigerian government for Twitter CEO, Jack Patrick Dorsey, to apologize. They also requested the establishment of a legal entity in Nigeria, it said, will register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities, and other demands, Twitter remained adamant.
The American firm merely said in its post, “We are deeply committed to Nigeria, where Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement, and civic participation.”
What are your thoughts?
Image Credit: tastefulrude.com