‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – The Federal Government has countered the claim by former Twitter staff that the microblogging platform did not negotiate with Nigeria before it was allowed to resume operations in the country after its suspension.
Speaking on Monday, at the 13th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB)’ Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023), which featured the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulen Tallen, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who discredited the claim also released proofs of the negotiations with the government.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter operations in the country following the micro-blogging site’s persistent use of activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence
Contrary to the claim by the former Twitter worker, the Minister said, “Seven days after the suspension, precisely on June 11, 2021, we received a letter, addressed to Mr President, from Twitter’s Vice President in charge of Public Policy, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Sinead McSweeney, seeking to meet with us on the Twitter suspension.
“That letter kick-started a number of activities that culminated in the extensive negotiation.”
Mohammed said after receiving the letter, the federal government announced its team to discuss with Twitter, adding that he chaired the team which comprised the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Ministers of Communications and Digital Economy and Foreign Affairs.
Other members of the team were the Minister of Works and Housing, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
Mohammed said following the composition of the team, they received another letter from a group, Albright Stonebridge Group, which was working at the behest of Twitter.
He added that Twitter also set up a team headed by Sinead Sweeney, Twitter’s Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, to enter into discussion with the government.
Other members of the Twitter team, according to the minister included, Karen White, Senior Director, Public Policy, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa; Ronan Costello, Senior Public Policy Manager, Africa, Europe and Middle East.
Also in the Twitter team were Emmanuel Lubanzadio, Head of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa; Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Senior Adviser, Albright Stonebridge Group.
“The back-and-forth negotiations culminated in a series of agreements that paved the way for the lifting of the Twitter suspension in January this year.
“Gentlemen, with the facts that we have supplied, you can now see that the fellow who reportedly alleged that Twitter did not negotiate with Nigeria is either being economical with the truth or didn’t even understand the workings of the company where he worked”, he said.