Federal government, yesterday, hinted that the suspension of Twitter’s activities in Nigeria would soon be lifted following the agreement that has been reached in most areas of contention with the platform.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the federal executive council meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, most of the conditions given to Twitter have been accepted.
He said the areas still pending, such as Twitter setting up an office and having a Twitter staff of management cadre that would serve as the country representative, are still being discussed.
Mohammed said concerning the establishment of a Nigerian office, even though Twitter has agreed to the condition, it is, however, maintaining that the earliest it can establish it is 2022.
The minister expressed confidence that everything would be hammered out with Twitter within a few days or weeks, noting the anxiety that has been shown by Nigerians.
He said the federal government’s committee negotiating with Twitter would meet on the agreement soon to make recommendations.
He said, “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 in sight.
“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 say tremendous, I mean really tremendous. We’ve engaged Twitter, both in writing and virtually. We set up a technical committee to engage Twitter; they set up their own committee too.
“They have met virtually, and have exchanged correspondence 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.
“Even though our report is not ready, and 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 Twitter operations to resume in Nigeria.
“I’m glad that both the honourable minister of works, who is a member of the Ministerial Team and Tolu, who also serves on the technical committee, are both here. So, if I were wrong they’d correct me. But I know that one of the conditions that we set was that Twitter, in line with Nigeria’s Companies and Allied Matters Act, should establish its presence in Nigeria with registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“And we think 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 should be mandated to employ a designated country representative.
“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. The company representative should also have a physical office address in Nigeria, as well as access to global management so that he can serve as the liaison between Nigeria and Twitter.
“We also asked Twitter to commit itself to working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), you know, understand that if you make money from Nigeria, you pay taxes according to Nigerian laws. Of course, this implies that it will start paying VAT and other tax liabilities of any company resident in Nigeria.”