The disagreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and microblogging site, Twitter, is in its last days, if comments credited to Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, are anything to go by.
Part of the agreement, according to him, after a series of meeting, is that Twitter will set up an office in Nigeria as early as 2022.
He added that most of the conditions given to Twitter had been accepted.
On June 4, the government announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operation in Nigeria following the deleting of tweets made by President Muhammadu Buhari that appeared to promote violence.
The government, however, attributed what was considered a high-handed reaction, to the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Find below Minister Lai’s response to questions from reporters in Abuja:
Conversation between Nigeria and Twitter
The question I think has to do with the status of the conversation between us and the Twitter company. 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 sit tremendous, tremendous.
We’ve engaged Twitter both in writing. We’ve engaged Twitter, we set up a technical committee to engage Twitter, 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.
On the Promises
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’m glad that the honourable Minister of works who is a member of the Ministerial Team, Tolu who also serves on the technical committee, they are both here. So, if I’m wrong they’d correct me.
Conditions to be Met by Twitter
But 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, 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 so that we can be able to, 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 can 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.
On Twitter Local Agents
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 know, understand that if you make money from Nigeria, you pay taxes according to Nigeria laws.
Payment of Tax and other Liabilities in Nigeria
Of course, this course, 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, 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 publications and when such is cited and brought to the attention of Twitter, Twitter to remove or delete such a publication.
▪︎ Additional material by PRNigeria.com