Buhari Govt Insists It Negotiated With Twitter Before Lifting Ban
The Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has dismissed claims that it failed to negotiate with social media giants, Twitter, before allowing the platform resume operations in the country last year.
Naija News recalls that a former senior Twitter official had claimed that there was no negotiation between the company and Nigeria to lift its suspension on Twitter.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said the present government carried out a series of painstaking negotiations with Twitter.
He said: “This claim is so ludicrous that one could just have ignored it. But the claim has continued to make the rounds online, hence our decision to clarify things, After all, it is said that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will believe it.
“Without mincing words, let me say that there was a long-drawn negotiation between Nigeria and Twitter, at the instance of the latter, following the suspension of the platform on June 4th 2021 because of its persistent use for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence
“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.”
Mohammed said the letter kick-started a number of activities that culminated in extensive negotiation, adding that the Buhari administration later announced its team to discuss with Twitter.
Twitter’s Negotiation Team
The minister disclosed that: “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 team was headed by Sinead Sweeney, Twitter’s Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, whom I mentioned earlier; Karen White, Senior Director, Public Policy, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa; Ronan Costello, Senior Public Policy
“Manager, Africa, Europe, Middle East; Emmanuel Lubanzadio, Head of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa; Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Senior Adviser, Albright Stonebridge Group.
“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. Gentlemen, with the facts that we have supplied, you can now see that the fellow who reportedly alleged that Twitter did not negotiate with Nigeria is either being economical with the truth or didn’t even understand the workings of the company where he worked.”