We're in Nigeria to serve public conversation —Twitter – Tribune Online

TWITTER has expressed delight that its services have been fully restored to Nigeria, affirming that just as in other countries of the world, its presence is to serve public conversation. 
It gave the stand in a tweet Thursday via the handle @ Policy, saying that the company is committed to Nigeria. 
Titled ‘Twitter public policy,’ the microblogging site explained in the tweet that Twitter is used by people for commerce, cultural engagement, and civic participation. 
It said, “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.” 
After seven months, the Federal Government lifted the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria on Wednesday following the approval given by President Muhammadu Buhari. 
The chairman, Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi, disclosed this in statement. 
He explained that the approval was given following a memo written to the President by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami. 
The government’s action drew strong criticisms from sections of Nigeria. 
Meanwhile, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana and Chief Mike Ozekhome on Thursday disagreed sharply on the prospects of litigation against the Federal Government over Twitter ban in Nigeria for seven months. 
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called for reparations from the central government to business owners whose ventures were affected by the ban. 
It is believed that hundreds of macro, micro, small and medium-scale businesses, which relied heavily on the micro-blogging site for their survival, were severely affected for the period the ban lasted. 
Many have been nudging the affected entrepreneurs to sue the central government since the ban was lifted on Wednesday. 
While Falana expressly backed the call, encouraging affected business owners to sue. Ozekhome held such a venture would be in futility, because the Federal Government, according to him, is empowered to decide the direction of international trade, on behalf of the country. Speaking on the enforceability of the conditions which the Nigerian government claimed Twitter accepted as operational obligations, Falana reasoned that it is down to Twitter to accept the conditionality, noting that the micro-blogging site would solely determine the enforceability. 

Falana felt it would be for Twitter to accept whatever Federal Government throws at it, but for those who suffered the brunt of the ban, he believes they have a good case against the Buhari administration. 
“Yes, they [business owners who suffered losses during the ban] can sue. Those who want to sue the government amongst them can sue” he reasoned. 
His stance was not shared by Ozekhome who felt it would be an exercise in futility, challenging the constitutional power possessed by the Federal Government to determine bilateral and multilateral trading with other countries or foreign interests. 
“Nigeria is an independent and sovereign nation. She has the right to determine who intrudes into her business space, including matters of international trade. 
“She can even decide against engaging in international and bilateral trade,” he said, adding that, “for those who lost businesses during the ban, they can’t recover from the Federal Government, because Nigeria was just exercising her suzerainty, even if such exercise was wrong.” 
He was certain nothing would come out of such litigation, but still convinced that the ban was wrong ab initio because Twitter didn’t feel the impact, considering countless Nigerians bypassed government restrictions to deal with the organisation.
In a similar development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the lifting of the ban on Twitter by the Muhammadu Buhari administration. 
A statement by the interim leadership of the party and signed by its national secretary, John James Akpanudoedehe said the action of the Federal Government to axe Twitter was to shield the nation against what he called “the interference of Twitter Inc. in Nigeria’s internal and national security affairs.” 
Akpanudoedehe maintained that “Mr President indeed stood up for the sovereignty of our nation until Twitter acceded to all six demands of the Federal Government of Nigeria concerning their practices in matters concerning our nation. 
“We also applaud Twitter for allowing good reason and common interests prevail by agreeing to open their office in Nigeria. This is a win-win for all parties and will create jobs and gainful opportunities for Nigerians in the global digital space.”
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