FILE PHOTO - The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS-Brendan McDermid-File Photo

As part of its controversial move to regulate social media, the Nigerian government said on Wednesday that Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants must register in the country.

Information minister Lai Mohammed also said Twitter, which was recently suspended by the Nigerian government, has called for a ‘high-level’ discussion.

Mohammmed said these in Abuja while briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

He repeated the government’s stance that Twitter was suspended because it provided an avenue for people threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.

He claimed that the owner of Twitter helped to fund the recent #EndSARS protest and is also allowing the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to use the platform to call for the killing of Nigerian security operatives.

He said Twitter failed to take down Mr Kanu’s tweets despite repeated requests to do so.


Newsmen reported how Twitter recently deleted some of Mr Kanu’s controversial tweet. This was after the Nigerian government suspended Twitter’s operations in the country after the social media giant deleted a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Mohammed said one of the conditions that must be met before the Nigerian government lifts the suspension on Twitter is that the social media firm must be registered in Nigeria as a business concern.

He said other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram must also be registered in the country.

The Twitter ban has been condemned by many Nigerians and the international community as an attack on the freedom of expression and an attempt to stifle free speech.

Mr Mohammed, however, said that the Buhari administration was not trying to stifle freedom of expression by its ban of Twitter, saying Nigerian users can migrate to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

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