ABUJA - Social media companies wanting to operate in Nigeria must register a local entity and be licensed, said the Ministry of Information of Nigeria on Wednesday, the latest move since it blocked Twitter last week.
This is why we insist that for you to be a Nigerian company in Nigeria you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the broadcasting commission, has Lai Mohammed, Minister for Information from Nigeria, of the social media companies.
The new regulations include conditions for continued operation, a spokesperson confirmed by elaborating. The move comes amid what critics say is a broader crackdown on freedom of expression in Nigeria which has drawn comparisons to Africa's decades of military rule in the 20th century.
The government of Nigeria last week said it had suspended Twitter’s activities two days after the platform removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish secessionists. Nigerian telecom firms have since blocked the access to Twitter.
Mohammed did not give a deadline for registration and licensing but said that some firms were given notice without naming companies affected. He did not respond to calls and a message on Dec. 15, 2009:
Twitter has consistently made its platform available to those who are threatening Nigeria's corporate existence, said Mohammed and called the separatist leader and opposing police brutality protesters.
The minister said Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp had not been suspended, but did not tell whether they would need to register and get a licence.