A few weeks after the Nigerian Government suspended Twitter usage in the country, a team has been chosen to initiate talks with Twitter.
According to CNN, the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has assembled a team that will lead negotiations with Twitter.
In early June, the ministry of information and culture announced that the Nigerian government had ‘indefinitely suspended’ Twitter’s operations in the country.
The negotiating team will including the country’s minister of information Lai Mohammed.
The suspension saga began with a tweet from the Nigerian leader threatening to ‘deal with’ people in the country’s southeast, whom he blames for attacks on public infrastructure in the region. The tweet was deleted by Twitter, to the government’s irritation.
Twitter has already written to the president “seeking”, as the social media giant put it, “to engage with the Federal Government over the suspension”.
In addition, Nigeria’s threat to prosecute Twitter users has been undermined by a ruling by West African regional bloc ECOWAS. ‘The Nigerian government may not arrest and prosecute Nigerians and businesses for trying to get around the ban’ – Users have opted for VPNs, though Justice Keikura Bangura of the ECOWAS Court did not directly tell Nigerian authorities to lift the Twitter ban.
The action against Twitter has already had a strong response from human rights bodies, journalists, and NGOs.
Nigeria is experiencing major economic consequences due to the suspension, with some estimates suggesting a loss to the Nigerian economy of more than $6 million a day from the Twitter ban.