The Nigerian Government has announced the creation of a code of conduct for Twitter and social media platforms in the country.
Nigeria’s Junior Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, a member of the committee set up by the government to meet with Twitter made this known in a Television Interview.
According to Keyamo, the micro blogging site has complied with most of the conditions set by the Nigerian authorities, part of them the payment of taxes and the opening of a corporate office in the country.
The Minister while giving a brief on the code of conduct the Nigerian government drafted for all social networking sites said:
“The Federal Government is very anxious, not only Twitter. In fact, but we have also developed a code of conduct for all of them”.
“They have agreed to a code of conduct, that is Twitter and every other platform because we are using the example of Twitter to draw code of conduct for all other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all of them” .
“We decided at the committee level that we don’t want to isolate Twitter and give them some kind of bias treatment different from other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and all of that. So, we are developing a code of conduct not for Twitter alone but for the general social media platforms on the responsible social behaviour that they must comply with”.
“Code of conduct can be made as bye law under the NBC code because that is broadcast” he said.
It would be recalled Authorities of the West African country on June 4 this year suspended the activities of Twitter Inc in Nigeria. The government premised its decision on the activities of the Jack Dorsey platform that sought ‘to undermine the corporate existence of the country.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed had hinged the government decision on Twitter bias and encouragement to those who sought to put the country in flames, a reference to the tweets of separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu being allowed to hold sway on the platform. The angst of the government was reportedly further fuelled with the deletion of a tweet by President Buhari where he promised to deal with those burning government facilities in the South-Eastern region of the country in the language they understand and making reference to the Nigerian Civil War where many Nigerians lost their lives. Twitter deleted the tweet saying it violated its platform rules, much to the consternation of the President and Nigerian government officials.
The Nigerian authorities soft-pedalled their stance on Twitter four months later when the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari at the country’s independence anniversary broadcast announced the conditional lifting of the restriction.
In the words of the Nigerian leader:
“Following the suspension of Twitter operations, Twitter Inc. reached out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to resolve the impasse. Subsequently, I constituted a Presidential Committee to engage Twitter to explore the possibility of resolving the issue.
“The Committee, along with its Technical Team, has engaged with Twitter and has addressed a number of key issues. These are National Security and Cohesion; Registration, Physical presence and Representation; Fair Taxation; Dispute Resolution; and Local Content.”
“Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.”