ABUJA, June 9 (Reuters) - Social media firms wanting to
operate in Nigeria must register a local entity and be licensed,
the country's information minister said on Wednesday, the
government's latest move since it banned Twitter last
"We are insisting that for you to operate in Nigeria you
must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the
broadcasting commission," said Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's
information minister, of social media companies.
The new regulations will include conditions for continued
operation, Mohammed said, without elaborating. The move comes
amidst what critics say is a broader crackdown on freedom of
expression in Africa's most populous country that has drawn
comparisons to Nigeria's decades of military rule in the 20th
Nigeria's government 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 telecoms firms have since blocked access
Buhari is a former military ruler.
Mohammed did not give a deadline for registration and
licensing, but said some firms were given notice, without naming
the affected companies. He did not respond to calls and a
message seeking details.
"Twitter has consistently made its platform available to
those who are threatening Nigerias corporate existence," said
Mohammed, naming a separatist leader and anti-police brutality
The minister said Facebook and its subsidiaries
Instagram and WhatsApp had not been suspended, but did not say
whether they would need to register and get a licence.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by