By Yusuf Alli, Abuja
Twitter users may have to wait a little longer to have access to the social media platform. The Federal Government team appears not to be in a hurry to fix a date for talks with the micro bloggers.
It was however learnt that the government may set legal, security and business hurdles for Twitter before it can resume operation in Nigeria.
The panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari has not fixed a date for meeting with the Twitter management.
The Federal Government had on June 4 suspended Twitter operation in the country for pulling down a tweet by the President.
Twitter’s management wrote to the President seeking to engage with the Federal Government over the suspension, with a view to charting a path forward.
Last week, President Muhammadu raised a team to interact with the American social media firm.
In the government team are: ministers Lai Mohammed (Information, Culture and Tourism); Abubakar Malami Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice); Dr. Isa Pantami (Communications and Digital Economy); Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs); Babatunde Raji Fashola (Works and Housing); Festus Keyamo (Minister of State for Labour and Employment) and representatives of other relevant government agencies.
The team held its maiden sitting last Wednesday.
A source said the team might still hold a session this week to “consider all options the government will table before Twitter.”
The source said: “Twitter may have to wait for a while before it resumes operation. The committee has just started its work; we have not reached the level of lifting the temporary ban.”
The source said the committee will be “open and put the interest of the nation above any other considerations.”
It went on: “We are thinking of some security, legal and business conditions or hurdles which Twitter must meet before it can resume operations in Nigeria. The committee will hold a session on Wednesday where all inputs, including legal frameworks, will be considered.
“For instance, there is no doubt that we will extract commitment from Twitter that it will not engage in any act that will undermine our national security. You will recall that threats to our national security accounted for the suspension of Twitter.
“We may ask Twitter to suspend some toxic accounts which are divisive and capable of escalating our fault lines. We are not the only nation that has engaged in internet blockades at one point or the other. I think we can talk of about more than 60 countries.
“We will also draw examples from some countries like China, Iran, North Korea and Turkmenistan and India which requested Twitter to suspend about 500 accounts and reduce the visibility of some hashtags.
“We are not the only nation that has engaged in internet blockades at one point or the other. I think we can talk of about more than 60 countries. What is paramount is the survival of Nigeria, not the interest of any individual.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “What the government didn’t pay much attention to is the registration of Twitter as a company both for revenue generation and making it to comply with our laws as an enterprise.
“It is obvious that we will want Twitter to register as a business concern in the country.”
The Information minister had earlier said: “First and foremost, Twitter must register as a company in Nigeria.
“It will be licensed by the broadcasting commission, and must agree not to allow its platform to be used by those who are promoting activities that are inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
Source: The Nation