The minister first announced last week that all over-the-top media service and social media operations in the country must be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has demanded that foreign social media platforms must register in Nigeria before they can operate in the country.
The minister reinforced that position during a media briefing on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, as the Federal Government continues to deal with its decision to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The American microblogging and social networking service was suspended allegedly because it was being used for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Mohammed said on Wednesday the company has reached out to the government for high level talks to resolve the stalemate that has left millions without access to the popular platform.
He accused Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, of helping to fund last year’s historic nationwide #EndSARS protest, and faulted Twitter for not removing the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, from the platform despite his inciteful actions.
The minister said the company registering as a business concern in Nigeria is one of the conditions to be fulfilled before suspension can be lifted.
“We are insisting that for you to operate in Nigeria you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the broadcasting commission.
“Therefore, any OTT or social media platform operating in Nigeria must do so legally,” he said.
He urged affected companies to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) before they are then licensed by the NBC.
The minister said those feeling like their freedom of expression is being stifled by the Twitter suspension should use other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
Nigeria’s suspension announcement came just days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account after it was deemed to have violated its rules.
The tweet had been widely reported by Nigerians as harmful after the president appeared to threaten separatist agitators in the south east region with a repeat of the civil war that killed millions between 1967 and 1970.