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Africa News of Thursday, 10 June 2021


Nigeria says Twitter must register locally for ban to end

Lai Mohammed be di Nigeria minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed be di Nigeria minister of information and culture

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, lays out the conditions that the government is imposing for Twitter to be reinstated in the country.

Friday's decision to suspend the platform, days after Twitter deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari, has already provoked an international outcry over freedom of expression and calls for protests online and on the street.

Nigeria's media and activists fear their country is slipping into repression after the government suspended Twitter in Africa's most populous nation, where hyper-connected youth embraced the platform as a means of protest.

More than 120 million Nigerians have access to the internet, and nearly 40 million of them have a Twitter account -- 20 percent of the population, according to Lagos-based researcher NOI Polls.

France, by comparison, has only eight million Twitter users.

Nigeria's numbers are explained in part by its large and youthful population, but also the influence of its diaspora and the online fame of its film and Afropop stars, said Manon Fouriscot, co-founder of the Afrique Connectees consultancy.

Last October, the #EndSARS protest movement against brutality by the country's SARS -- or Special Anti-Robbery Squad -- police unit, which expanded into a call for broader reform, first exploded on Twitter before taking to the streets.

Backed by Afropop icons with millions of subscribers, and then relayed by major international influencers, #EndSARS was the most shared hashtag in the world for two days.

The protests that followed were the largest in modern Nigerian history, raising fears of wider instability before security forces cracked down on demonstrators.

Some Nigerian broadcasters are concerned the move against Twitter is part of a more general crackdown on the media.

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