Nigerians can now access Twitter again without the need for VPNs or fear of repercussions. On January 13th, 2022, the Nigerian government lifted the ban on Twitter, more than seven months after ordering telecom providers in the country to block the social network.
Nigeria has decided to lift the ban after Twitter agreed to open a local office, according to CNN, Reuters, and The Financial Times.
Twitter was also required to agree to other conditions imposed by the government, such as “managing prohibited publication in accordance with Nigerian law.” The social network must also pay domestic taxes and appoint a representative in the country to interact with local authorities.
The most populous African country suspended Twitter in June 2021 after the website removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, who used the platform to threaten citizens in the aftermath of attacks on government buildings.
Twitter explained at the time that the post violated its abuse policy. Nigerian authorities retaliated, accusing Twitter of allowing its platform to be used for “activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
They also warned citizens that those who attempted to circumvent the suspension by using VPNs and similar tools would be prosecuted.
Bloomberg reported in October that Nigeria was already planning to lift the ban, as long as Twitter is used for “business and positive engagements” in the country, but it clearly took a few months for the agreement to be finalized.
Twitter “has agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built,” said Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency.
The social network has also reportedly agreed to collaborate with the government of the country “to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, applicable in almost all developed countries.”