From ‘Civil War Tweet’ To Tax Talks — Timeline How FG, Twitter Negotiation Ended

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After months of negotiation, the federal government, on
Wednesday, announced that it has lifted the suspension of
Twitter operations in Nigeria.
On Thursday at midnight, telecommunications companies
restored Twitter services in Nigeria as many Nigerians
living in the country are now able to access the
microblogging platform without the use of virtual private
network (VPN).
After the suspension of Twitter, many Nigerians
downloaded VPNs to bypass the restriction and access
the platform.
Here, are the highlights issues before and after the
suspension:

🔵*BUHARi MADE REFERENCE TO CIVIL WAR IN HIS TWEET
On June 1, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari posted a
tweet wherein he threatened to treat Nigerians
“misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.
In the tweet, Buhari made reference to his experience
during the civil war and threatened to deal with those
“bent on destroying” Nigeria through “insurrection”.
The president posted the message to warn those
“misbehaving in certain parts of the country”, particularly
in the south-east where attacks on government
infrastructure worsened.
Buhari’s tweet did not go down well with many Nigerians
on Twitter, especially the reference of the civil war — in
which millions of Nigerians mostly the Igbo were killed —
and they reported the tweet to Twitter.

🔵TWITTER DELETED BUHARI’S TWEET
On June 2, 2021, Twitter deleted the president’s tweet,
saying the tweet violated its rules.
The platform did not provide further details on why the
president’s tweet was deleted but its policy states that
such a measure is sometimes taken because “the
behaviour violates the Twitter rules”.

🔵FG ACCUSED TWITTER OF DOUBLE STANDARDS
After Twitter’s action, on June 2, 2021, Lai Mohammed,
minister of Information, accused Twitter of double
standards, saying Buhari has the right to express his anger.
Mohammed accused the platform of turning a blind eye to
the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, which the
Nigerian authorities declared a terrorist organisation.

🔵FG SUSPENDED TWITTER INDEFINITELY
On June 4, 2021, the federal government announced the
suspension of the operations of the microblogging
platform in Nigeria.
The federal government cited “the persistent use of the
platform for activities that are capable of undermining
Nigeria’s corporate existence” for its decision.

🔵PDP, NBA FAULTED TWITTER SUSPENSION
The decision of the federal government to suspend the
platform was greeted with harsh criticisms from many
Nigerians and organisations.
Reacting to the development, the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP), on June 4 2021, described the decision to
suspend Twitter as “barbaric and vexatious”.
Also, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said it will
institute a lawsuit against the federal government, saying
the federal government lacked constitutional authority to
back its decision.

🔵TELCOS BLOCKED ACCESS TO TWITTER
On June 5, 2021, telecommunications companies in
Nigeria blocked access to Twitter in compliance with the
order of the federal government.
VPN TO THE RESCUE
In a bid to bypass Twitter’s suspension in Nigeria, many
Nigerians resorted to the use of VPN to access the
microblogging platform.

🔵AISHA BUHARI DEACTIVATED HER TWITTER ACCOUNT
On June 5, 2021, Aisha, wife of Buhari, deactivated her
account on Twitter.
At 11:59pm on June 4, 2021, the president’s wife tweeted
her decision to deactivate the account.

,🔵MALAMI ORDERS PROSECUTION OF TWITTER BAN
VIOLATORS
On June 5, 2021, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of
the federation, ordered the prosecution of those violating
the ban on Twitter in Nigeria.

🔵US, UK, CANADA, EU TACKLED FG OVER TWITTER
SUSPENSION
On June 5, 2021, the United States, the United Kingdom,
Canada and European Union expressed disappointment
over the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.

🔵PDP REPS THREATEN LAWSUIT AGAINST FG OVER
TWITTER SUSPENSION
On June 6, 2021, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
caucus in the house of representatives, threatened to sue
the federal government if the suspension Twitter in the
country is not reversed.

🔵NBC DIRECTED BROADCASTING STATIONS TO STOP
USING TWITTER
On June 7, 2021, the National Broadcasting Commission
(NBC) directed broadcasting stations in the country to
stop using Twitter.

🔵FG GIVES CONDITION TO LIFT BAN ON TWITTER
On June 7, 2021, the federal government gave conditions
to lift its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.
Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, at a meeting
with some envoys, said the condition would be
responsible use of social media.

🔵‘ FG COULD HAVE HANDLED TWITTER BAN A LOT
BETTER’
On June 7, 2021, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos
state, said the federal government could have handled the
disagreement with Twitter better.
Sanwo-Olu said the federal government could have
handled the situation better considering the economic
implications of the decision.

🔵SERAP, 176 CONCERNED NIGERIANS DRAGGED FG TO
ECOWAS COURT
On June 8, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability
Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians filed a
lawsuit against the federal government at the ECOWAS
Community Court of Justice over Twitter’s suspension.
SERAP said the “suspension of Twitter is aimed at
intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and
other social media platforms to assess government
policies, expose corruption, and criticize acts of official
impunity by the agents of the federal government”.

🔵CSOs DARED FG, SAID NO LAW AGAINST TWEETING IN
NIGERIA
On June 8, 2021, a coalition of 25 civil society
organisations (CSOs) said it will not stop using Twitter.
The CSOs said they are not aware of any law that prohibits
the use of Twitter, while describing the suspension as an
assault on the civic space and a clampdown on free
speech.

🔵‘TWITTER MUST BE REGISTERED IN NIGERIA BEFORE
BAN IS REVERSED’
On June 9, 2021, Lai Mohammed, minister of information,
said the management of Twitter had reached out for a
“high-level discussion” to resolve the issues that led to the
suspension of its operations in Nigeria.
The minister said Twitter must be registered as a business
entity in Nigeria, noting that it is one of the conditions that
must be met before the suspension can be reversed.

‘🔵IT’S UNFAIR TO SAY TWITTER BAN WAS BECAUSE
BUHARI’S TWEET WAS DELETED’
On June 11, 2021, Lai Mohammed said it is “unfair” for
people to say the suspension of Twitter’s operations in
Nigeria is because the president’s tweet was deleted.
The minister said the ban was in order because Twitter
allowed the promotion of views that could cause division
in the country.

‘🔵NIGERIA NEEDS TWITTER’
On June 11, 2021, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said
Nigeria needs Twitter just as much as Twitter needs
Nigeria.
Lawan said the senate is optimistic that the differences
between the federal government and the platform will be
resolved.

‘🔵BUHARI’S EGO NOT ENOUGH TO BAN TWITTER’
On June 14, 2021, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Governors’ Forum tackled Buhari over the suspension of
Twitter in Nigeria.
The PDP governors said the president’s “mere ego” is not
enough reason to suspend Twitter, adding that millions of
Nigerians would be deprived of affordable means of
communication.

🔵ECOWAS COURT STOPPED FG FROM PROSECUTING
NIGERIANS FOR USING TWITTER
On June 22, 2021, the ECOWAS court issued an order
restraining Buhari or any member of his administration
from prosecuting any Nigerian for using Twitter.
The ruling followed the suit filed against the government
by SERAP and 176 concerned Nigerians over Twitter’s
suspension.

🔵BUHARI APPOINTED TEAM TO ENGAGE TWITTER OVER
SUSPENSION
On June 22, 2022, Buhari approved the composition of a
federal government team to engage Twitter over its
suspension.
The team, which was chaired by Mohammed, included
Malami, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and
digital economy; Geoffery Onyeama, minister of foreign
affairs; Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour and
employment.

🔵FG IN TALKS WITH TWITTER
On August 5, 2021, Segun Adeyemi, special assistant to
the president on media in the office of the information
minister, said discussions with Twitter and the federal
government were in progress.

🔵FG SAID TWITTER BAN WILL BE LIFTED SOON
On August 11, 2021, the federal government announced
that the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria
would soon be lifted.
The information minister said the federal government has
resolved some of the issues it raised with the social
media platform, adding that the company has agreed to
set up an office in Nigeria.

🔵‘ TWITTER BAN WILL BE LIFTED IN A FEW DAYS’
Again, on September 15, 2021, the federal government
announced that it is “very close” to resolving the issues
that led to the ban of Twitter in the country.
Mohammed said the ban on Twitter would be lifted “very
soon”.

🔵BUHARI: I HAVE ASKED THAT TWITTER SUSPENSION BE
LIFTED
On October 1, 2021, Buhari, in his Independence Day
speech, said he has directed that Twitter suspension be
lifted, only if the conditions are met to allow the citizens
to use the platform for positive engagements.
The president said his administration is committed to
ensuring that digital companies use their platform to
enhance the lives of Nigerian citizens

🔵‘ TWITTER HAS AGREED TO ALL OUR CONDITIONS’
On November 28, 2021, the federal government said
Twitter has agreed to all its conditions for suspension to
be lifted.
Keyamo disclosed that Twitter reached out to the federal
government on what should be done for the suspension to
be lifted.

🔵FG LIFTED SUSPENSION ON TWITTER OPERATIONS
On January 12, 2021, Buhari approved the lifting of the
suspension on Twitter operations in Nigeria.
GOODBYE VPN!
On January 13, telecommunications companies restored
Twitter services in Nigeria as many Nigerians are now able
to access Twitter without VPNs.

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