Nigerian minister says Twitter ban to be lifted soon
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria plans to soon lift its ban on Twitter, the country’s information minister said Wednesday, two months after authorities blocked the social network when a tweet by the president was deleted.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed told journalists that an “amicable resolution is very much in sight,” but did not specify how soon the ban could be lifted in Africa’s most populous nation.
Sarah Hart, a Twitter spokesperson, said the company had recently met with the Nigerian government to discuss the ban.
“Our aim is to chart a path forward to the restoration of Twitter for everyone in Nigeria,” Hart said in an emailed statement. “We look forward to ongoing discussions with the Nigerian government and seeing the service restored very soon.”
Nigeria suspended Twitter’s operation on June 4 after the social media network deleted a post by President Muhammadu Buhari in which he threatened to treat separatists “in the language they will understand.”
Nigerians officials, though, have denied that the ban was in retaliation for deleting the president’s tweet.
The decision drew widespread criticism from Nigerians, many of whom pointed out how the government announced the ban on its Twitter page.
The U.S. said the ban “has no place in a democracy” while Amnesty International said it is “inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international obligations.”
Many Nigerians defied the ban and continued to access the social network with the aid of virtual private network. A West African court in June restrained the federal government from prosecuting those still using Twitter.