After a seven-month hiatus, Twitter is back in Nigeria.

ABUJA: The government of Nigeria lifted a seven-month ban on Twitter on Thursday after the social media giant was accused of deleting a post by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria shut down Twitter in June, sparking international outrage over the country’s lack of freedom of speech.

Since then, the government and Twitter have been in talks about reinstating the service on the basis of a list of requirements, one of which is that Twitter register its business in Nigeria.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) claimed in a statement that President Muhammadu Buhari “has authorised the lifting of the suspension of Twitter activity in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight.”

As of 0600 GMT, Twitter was accessible in Lagos, Nigeria’s metropolis, according to an AFP correspondent.

“We are relieved that Twitter access has been restored to all Nigerians.” “Our aim in Nigeria, and across the world, is to serve public discourse,” a Twitter representative told AFP.

“In Nigeria, where people use Twitter for business, cultural engagement, and civic involvement, we are firmly committed.”

Three quarters of the 200 million people in Africa’s largest economy are under the age of 24, a group that is also hyper-connected to social media.

Following the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014, the ban stunned many in Nigeria, where Twitter has played an important role in political dialogue, with hashtags such as #BringBackOurGirls.

Last year, young activists used Twitter to organise the “#EndSARS” rallies against police brutality, which developed into the greatest demonstrations in Nigeria’s modern history before being suppressed.

According to NITDA Director General Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the social media behemoth has adhered to restrictions in order to restore service.

Establishing a legal entity in Nigeria, appointing a national representative, and dealing with tax duties were among them.

Abdullahi participated in talks with Twitter.

‘Untrustworthy components’

Nigerian officials chastised Twitter for removing Buhari’s statement, accusing the platform of permitting acts that endanger the country’s existence.

That was a reference to social media comments made by separatist agitators in the country’s southeast, where a civil conflict killed one million people five decades ago.

“The immediate and remote reason of the suspension was the continuous exploitation of the platform by some unscrupulous groups for subversive and criminal objectives, promoting fake news, and polarising Nigerians,” Abdullahi added.

When Buhari mentioned Nigeria’s civil war in the context of a warning to those responsible for ongoing instability in the country’s southeast, Twitter removed a remark.

Following the suspension, officials also mentioned then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s support for last year’s # EndSARS anti-police brutality rallies in Nigeria.

According to local experts, over 40 million individuals, or approximately 20% of Nigeria’s population, have a Twitter account, and many use the network for business.

The United States, the European Union, and Canada have joined rights organisations in denouncing the ban as harmful to freedom of speech in Africa’s most populous country.

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