The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, yesterday said Twitter negotiated with the Federal Government in the wake of the suspension of the microblogging site.
Speaking in Abuja at the 13th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration’s Scorecard Series (2015-2023), he described as ludicrous, the claim by a former senior Twitter official that there was no negotiation between the company and Nigeria before the suspension was lifted.
The government had, on January 13, lifted the suspension it placed Twitter operations on June 4, 2021 after the social media platform deleted a post by Buhari for “violation of the company’s abusive behaviour policy.”
The minister yesterday said there was a long-drawn negotiation between Nigeria and Twitter, at the instance of the latter.
“Seven days after the suspension, precisely on June 11th 2021, we received a letter, addressed to Mr. President, from Twitter’s Vice President in charge of Public Policy, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Sinead McSweeney, seeking to meet with us on the Twitter suspension. That letter kick-started a number of activities that culminated in extensive negotiation.
“After the letter, the Federal Government announced its team to discuss with Twitter.
The team, chaired by the Minister of Information and Culture, also comprised the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Ministers of Communications and Digital Economy, Foreign Affairs as well as Works and Housing, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency.
“Following the composition of our team, we received another letter from a group, Albright Stonebridge Group, which apparently was working at the behest of Twitter. The letter (which is also projected on the screens and is available to the media) named the Twitter team to enter into a discussion with Nigeria.
“The back-and-forth negotiation culminated in a series of agreements that paved the way for the lifting of the Twitter suspension in January this year.”