Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government on Wednesday said that it was “very close” to lifting the over 100-day ban on the microblogging platform, Twitter.The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance while briefing State House correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). at the First Lady’s Conference room, Presidential Villa, Abuja.The PUNCH had reported that 100 days have passed since the Buhari-led regime banned Twitter in Nigeria for deleting the President’s infamous tweet on the Indigenous People of Biafra.The government had also said on August 11, that “the ban will be lifted soon.”Mohammed, who was asked to give an update on the ban and ongoing negotiations with Twitter said, “The end for amicable resolution is very much in sight. We appreciate the patience of Nigerians. I want to assure you that we have made very tremendous progress. We have met with Twitter both physically and in writing. We are almost there.“The engagement has been extremely positive without any acrimony. We have made it clear what we want from Twitter.”The Minister stated that some of the conditions the Federal Government gave Twitter is to establish a legal presence in the country by registering as a Nigerian company with an address.
But over 100 days later, Mohammed gave the same assurance while fielding questions from journalists on the latest development towards resolving the matter after the FEC meeting said that it was a matter of days.He said, “Thank you very much. I think even Twitter itself two days ago gave what I will call a progress report on our talks with them. And I think if I want to quote them rightly, it has been productive and quite respectful.“And as to how soon is soon, right? I want to assure you that between the time that Twitter operation has been suspended, and when it will be restored is by far, much, much shorter. That I can assure you that it is by far. In other words, if the operation has been suspended for about 100 days now, I can tell you that we’re just actually talking about a few, just a few more days now.“What we’re trying to do is the changes that have been going on, but we need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. I can assure you that we’re mindful of the anxiety of Nigerians and both parties are working very hard to put a closure on the matter.“And like Twitter itself said, the changes have been very, very productive on both parties.”Asked for specifics on when the matter would be resolved, he said, “Honestly, we have gone very far, I won’t be specific but we have gone very far, and honestly, it’s just going to be very, very soon, just take my word for that.”Quizzed further for specifics, he said, “Honestly, I can’t be more specific than what I’ve told you that it is going to be very soon. Thank you.”
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