The federal government Wednesday insisted that all Over The Top (OTT) platforms otherwise known as Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram have to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria.
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In addition, the government also wants the OTT to equally seek to be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as a condition for them to operate in the country.
The conditions were disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, when he briefed newsmen in Abuja after a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Mohammed also told newsmen that Twitter has approacehd the federal government on how to resolve the matter concerning its suspension.
He said that government is going ahead to hold talks with Twitter, adding that the condition is that they must register and stop using the platform to do whatever does not promote corporate existence of Nigeria.
The Minister said, “On Friday, also the government directed the regulatory body, the National Broadcasting Commission, to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT, Over The Top social media operations in Nigeria.
“And I believe that we’ve done that I think by today, that advert is out asking that all OTT and social media coverage operating in Nigeria should apply for registration and licensing.
“I want to repeat that 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.
“Because we’ve found out that Twitter is actually the platform of choice for a particular separatist leader who resides outside the country and issues directives to its members to attack symbols of government authority, such as the police, the military, the electoral commission offices, correctional centres, etc. And this is being done willfully and consistently without any consequences from Twitter.
“You know, no country worth its name will tolerate that. And no company, no matter its self-importance, will force any nation to accept this.
“It may interest you to know that most of the OTT 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. One, registered with Corporate Affairs Commission, licensed by National Broadcasting Commission and then adhere to the conditions stipulated in their licences. We have already advertised the notice to the companies concerned to apply for registration of licence”.
However, many Nigerians have kicked against the ban placed on Twitter describing as an infringement against human rights.
Many have continued to use Twitter despite the ban.