Nigerians can now access their Twitter accounts without using Virtual Private Network (VPN) – 222 days after the Federal Government suspended the operations of the microblogging site.
Announcing its official return, Twitter assured the Nigerian government of its commitment to driving civic participation.
It posted, “We are pleased that Twitter has been restored for everyone in Nigeria. Our mission in Nigeria and around the world is to serve the public conversation. We are deeply committed to Nigeria, where Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement, and civic participation.
“We’re committed to integrating diverse perspectives that make our service better for everyone.”
LagosPost had earlier reported that the Federal Government ended its suspension of Twitter seven months after banning the social media giant in a dispute over a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria halted Twitter operations in June after the company deleted a comment by Buhari, where the president referenced Nigeria’s civil war, in the context of a warning to those responsible for recent unrest in the country’s southeast.
This provoked an international outcry over freedom of expression.
Consequently, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who had accused Twitter of double standards, announced the suspension of the microblogging site, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
After the ban, officials also referenced the then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s support for the #EndSARS protests last year in Nigeria against police brutality.
The government and Twitter have since been in negotiations over restoring the service based on a set of conditions, one of which was Twitter registering its operations in Nigeria.
A Wednesday statement from the country’s information technology development agency reads, “The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari… has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight.”
About 40 million people or around 20 percent of Nigeria’s population have a Twitter account, according to AFP, and many use the platform for business.