Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, has stated the upper legislative chamber’s stance on the suspension of Twitter for the first time, saying Nigeria needs the microblogging platform.
Lawan said this at a news briefing in Abuja to mark his administration’s second year in office.
According to the Senate President, the Senate was convinced that the Federal Government and Twitter would eventually resolve their difference.
He said: “The Honorable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has informed Nigerians that the government is talking with Twitter to resolve this matter.
“Our belief is that Nigeria needs Twitter just as much as Twitter needs Nigeria.
“We believe that the matter between Twitter and the Federal Government of Nigeria will be resolved.
“But beyond that, I’m an optimist, I believe all of us will have learnt our lessons.”
The Federal Government announced the suspension of Twitter on Friday, two days after the microblogging site deleted a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari after it was deemed to have “violated the Twitter rules”.
In a statement by Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture on Friday, the ban placed on Twitter was due to the “persistent use” of the platform in purportedly encouraging activities that “undermines Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
President Buhari had after meeting with the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on 1 June following the attacks on the commission’s offices in the South-East region said his administration will treat those fomenting trouble in the country “in the language they understand”.
However, the president’s comment elicited varied responses, with many Nigerians saying on social media that he had just threatened to deal with innocent citizens over the actions of a negligent few.
Many Nigerians inundated the microblogging site with requests for the removal of the controversial tweet and a suspension of the president’s account.
Despite initially saying that President Buhari’s tweet did not violate its rules, Twitter reversed its stance later on Wednesday, deleting the tweet.
According to the social media platform, “this tweet violated the Twitter rules”.
But Mohammed, the Minister of Information, hours after the tweet was deleted accused Twitter of double standards, insisting that the microblogging site’s rules are not the universal laws.
The minister subsequently announced the suspension of Twitter on 4 June.