NIGERIA – Nigeria will lift its ban on Twitter soon after negotiations for an agreement to end its differences with the social media giant, the government said on Wednesday.
The June ban came days after Twitter deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari, and provoked international outcry over freedom of expression.
“The ban on Twitter will soon be lifted as we are getting close reaching full agreement,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters in Abuja.
“We have agreed on some areas, hopefully in the next few days or weeks we will conclude.”
Twitter’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for details on any negotiations.
The social media giant had said it was deeply concerned about the block, and called free and open internet access a basic right.
The US, EU and Canada were among the foreign governments who joined rights groups in condemning the ban as damaging to freedom of expression in Africa’s most populous country.
The block shocked Nigeria’s hyper-connected youth in a country where 40 million people have a Twitter account or around 20 percent of the population, according to NOI polls, a local research organisation.
Twitter played a key role in political discourse in Nigeria, with the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during anti-police brutality protests last year.
Nigeria had said the ban would end when Twitter submits to local licensing, registration and conditions for working in the country.
The ban decision came just two days after the platform deleted a tweet from Buhari’s own account for violating its rules.
He had referenced Nigeria’s civil war five decades ago when one million people died, in the context of a warning to those responsible for recent unrest in the country’s southeast.