By G9ija

Microblogging platform Twitter has welcomed Nigeria’s decision to lift the restrictions placed on its operations in the country.

“We are pleased that Twitter has been restored for everyone in Nigeria. Our mission in Nigeria and around the world is to serve the public conversation.

“We are deeply committed to Nigeria, where Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement, and civic participation”, Twitter’s Public Policy team said in a tweet on Thursday.

Twitter was accessible in Nigeria on Thursday after the government lifted a seven-month ban on the social media network.

“President Muhammadu Buhari . . . has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12 am tonight”, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Nigeria halted Twitter operations after the company deleted a comment by President Buhari, provoking an international outcry over freedom of expression.

But The Presidency said the move had nothing to do with the social media platform’s action.

“There has been a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real-world violent consequences. All the while, the company has escaped accountability.

“Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic, and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to the loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart”, Presidential aide, Garba Shehu, said in the wake of the suspension.

The United States, European Union and Canada were among countries who joined Amnesty International (AI) and several other rights groups in condemning the ban as damaging to freedom of expression in Africa’s most populous country.

Twitter had a major role in political discourse in Nigeria, with the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, and #EndSARS during anti-police brutality protests in 2020.