The Federal Government has again accused global microblogging site, Twitter of allowing a proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), use its platform to promote violence in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made the allegation on Tuesday in his presentation before members of the House of Representatives Joint Committee on the suspension of Twitter at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Alhaji Mohammed told the House that “the decision of the Federal Government to ban the activities of Twitter for being a national security threat is well-founded in law in light of the fact that the platform allows IPOB, an organisation already proscribed by the Federal High Court, to champion its seditious and terrorist-based activities.”
He said the social media giant was suspended because it allowed activities inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria by a separatist group which he claimed promoted destabilisation of Nigeria.
He disclosed that the government has resolved that all social media platforms must register as Nigerian companies and pay taxes before they can be allowed to operate in the country.
The minister however explained that the move was not to stifle free speech or gag the media in any way, saying it was done in accordance with the law.
He condemned Twitter’s activities during the EndSARS protest and added that the company used its platform to raise funds for the protesters.
He quoted Section 78 (1) of the CAMA Law 2020, to state that a foreign company cannot operate in Nigeria unless it first registers and the government is empowered to defend Nigeria’s cyberspace, including social media.
Prodded on the impact of the suspension on businesses, he advised Nigerians to use other platforms for their online businesses just as he insisted that individual interest would not take precedence over national security, stressing that the ban was legal.