THE Federal Government Wednesday said that the Twitter ban in Nigeria will be lifted soon.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the virtual Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the First Lady’s Conference room, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister, who was asked to give update on the Twitter ban in Nigeria and the interface with the company said, the end for amicable resolution was very much in sight.
He said the government appreciated the anxiety of Nigerians and assured that a tremendous progress had been achieved between the two parties.
He said that the representatives of the Nigeria government had met with Twitter and had also sent correspondences, pointing out that the issue was nearly resolved.
Mohammed said the engagement has been extremely positive without any acrimony and that the government had made clear what it wants from Twitter.
Alhaji Mohammed stated that some of the conditions made by the Federal Government for Twitter operations to resume in Nigeria include that Twitter should establish legal presence in the country, register as a Nigerian company with an address.
Besides, he said that the company should also have a Country Representative that will serve as a liaison and must register with relevant regulatory agencies including the NCC.
The government he said also had demanded that Twitter must commit itself to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS and was also proposing an Ombudsman between Twitter and Nigeria.
He said Twitter has shown a lot of flexibility and that the conversation has not been acrimonious.
He, however said that there were about three to four areas the two parties were yet to reach agreement which include opening of office in Nigeria with staff, adding that Twitter has agreed to open office in the country in 2022.
He said, “I want to say that the end for an amicable solution is very much insight. We quite appreciate the anxiety of Nigerians who have been worried that two months after the suspension, we’ve not been able to finalise talks, but I just want to assure you that we have made tremendous progress.
“And when I say tremendous, really tremendous. We’ve engaged Twitter both in writing. We’ve engaged Twitter, we set up a technical committee to engage Twittter, they set up their own committee too. they have met virtually, and have exchanged correspondents about three times.
“Really, apart from dotting the i’s and crossing the T’s, we’re actually almost there. I don’t want to say that the engagement has been extremely positive, devoid of any acrimony. As a matter of fact, is to the credit of Twitter that they admitted that they’ve never received any kind of informed or detailed or professional communication from any country as they have received from us.
“Not only did they promise that they were going to look into it, but we made very clear what we wanted from Twitter. Even though our report is not ready, even though we’re still expecting more clarifications around some conversation with Twitter, I think I can share with you some of our conditions for reopening for Twitter operations to resume in Nigeria.
“I know that one of the conditions that we set was that Twitter, in line with Nigeria’s Companies and Allied Matters Act, Twitter should establish presence in Nigeria with registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission. And we think it is only thing, that if you want to do business in Nigeria, you must register first as a Nigerian company and of course, you must have an address. That’s one of the conditions we gave Twitter.
“We also asked that Twitter shall be mandated to employ a designated country representatives. As of today, we are not aware of any Twitter representative in Nigeria, and we say that that representative shall be a staff of Twitter so that he can have access to global management of Twitter
so that he can serve as a liaison between Nigeria and Twitter.
“The company representative should also have a physical office address in Nigeria. as well as access to the Global Management so that it can serve as the liaison between Nigeria and Twitter.
“Also have a physical office address in Abuja and offices outside the capital. But we believe that it’s important that Twitter should have a company representative who is high up so that he can take directly complaints from Nigeria to Twitter.
“We also asked Twitter, in addition to registering the Nigerian company, must also register with relevant regulatory authorities like NIPDA, like NCC, broadcasting commission.
“Fourthly, we asked that Twitter shall be mandated to retain designated local agents to manage its engagement with federal government operations in Nigeria. We also asked Twitter to commit itself to working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, you now understand that if you make money from Nigeria, you pay taxes according to Nigeria laws.
“Of course, you start paying VAT and other tax liabilities of any company resident in Nigeria. We also proposed to Twitter that we should agree on a charter of online conduct for content management. So that this charter will guide both of us, we will agree on which content would be acceptable, what’s not acceptable.
“So, the two parties would meet because we are very concerned about contents that are liable to jeopardise the security, unity and safety of Nigeria. We also asked that we agree on what is publicatious and when such is cited and brought to the attention of Twitter, Twitter to remove or delete such a publication.”