close
close
Posted in

Buhari lifted our platform to save face; we have not met, dialogue with Lai Mohammed, Fashola, other Nigerian Ministers: Twitter Executive

X shareholder Anthony Russell Tatum has revealed that the regime of then President Muhammadu Buhari lifted the months-long ban on Twitter, now by the Nigerian government.

The lies that Twitter allowed to circulate unchecked, according to Tatum, hampered freedom of expression and had devastating consequences for the microblogging site’s shareholders.

In a 119-page lawsuit filed in Pender County, North Carolina, USA against general recklessness. it claimed that it has failed to proactively publicize takedown notices for unflattering tweets from foreign governments hostile to freedom of expression.

A summons was issued against the parties for this in January 2024.

In June 2021, Lai Mohammed, then Minister of Information, announced a Twitter ban shortly after the site deleted Mr Buhari’s tweet for inciting violence, which was deemed a violation of Twitter policies and guidelines .

Angered by the removal, Mr Buhari cracked down on Twitter and ordered all internet service providers in Nigeria to ban people living in the country from accessing the microblogging site.

Months later, in January 2022, Buhari’s government reversed the ban, which it said was the result of several negotiations with Twitter executives and the site’s decision to adhere to certain conditions. Some of the so-called concessions included taxes and setting up a physical office in Nigeria.

Peiter Zatko, a former Twitter employee, disputed claims that such dialogues did not exist in a whistleblower report to the US Congress. His report was at the center of a lawsuit recently filed in the United States.

Mr. Tatum relied on the whistleblower complaint from Peiter Zatko, former vice president (security) at Twitter, to strengthen his argument against the company and its owner.

Even though Musk wasn’t responsible for the allegations, it was still the company he bought, so the responsibility was his.

When Mr Mohammed got wind of the whistleblower’s claims in 2022 and tried to debunk them at a press conference in Abuja in December 2022, he insisted that the Nigerian government had indeed negotiated with Twitter to lift the ban.

“The back-and-forth negotiations culminated in a series of agreements that paved the way for the Twitter suspension to be lifted in January this year (2022),” said Mr. Mohammed, who wrote Mr. Zatko’s 2022 whistleblower report refuted.

The Buhari regime blocked Twitter in June 2021 and then falsely claimed to be in negotiations with Twitter executives. Twitter’s failure to correct false data on widely reported non-existent conversations with the Nigerian government allowed Nigeria to negotiate unilaterally through the media and dictate unfavorable terms for a final settlement, Tatum’s claim said.

He claimed that Twitter’s decision to refrain from correcting misinformation about Twitter’s proposed negotiations with the Nigerian government directly harmed Twitter’s shareholders.

Not only did Twitter’s inaction encourage the Buhari regime to control and spread a false narrative, Tatum said in the lawsuit, it also allowed the Nigerian government to impose various conditions on the platform that restrict freedom of expression and damaged democratic accountability for Nigerian citizens.