The Federal Government on Wednesday said the microblogging platform, Twitter, must register as a business concern in Nigeria as part of conditions to be met before the suspension placed on its operation can be lifted.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Mohammed accused the microblogging and social media platform of suspicious activities in the country, adding that it pays no taxes to the Nigerian government despite the revenue it generates from Nigerians.
The minister said, “It may interest you to know that most of the Over The Top and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have any office in Nigeria and do not pay taxes to the Nigerian government for the billions they earn here.
“That is not the best practice globally, and that is why 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.”
Mohammed recalled that the National Broadcasting Commission was last Friday directed to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT social media operations in Nigeria.
He said the first step was for them to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission and thereafter be licensed by the NBC and then adhere to the conditions stipulated in their licenses.
He added, “We have already advertised the notice to the companies concerned to apply for registration of license.
“The cardinal thing is that Twitter must be registered in Nigeria. Twitter must be licensed in Nigeria and Twitter must stop using its platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria and its corporate existence.”
He explained that Twitter was suspended because it provides ample opportunity for elements who are bent on threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria.
The minister said, “As you are aware, last Friday the federal government suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria indefinitely.
“And the reason we gave was because of the persistent use of the Twitter platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“I want to repeat that it is because Twitter has consistently made its platform available to those who are threatening Nigeria’s corporate existence that is the reason for suspending their operations in Nigeria.”