OPENING BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE 13TH EDITION OF THE ”PMB ADMINISTRATION SCORECARD SERIES (2015-2023)” IN ABUJA ON MONDAY, DEC. 19TH 2022
Good morning and welcome to the 13th edition of the ‘PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023)’, featuring the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs.
- Prior to today, we have hosted 12 Ministers from:
i) – Works and Housing
ii) – Transportation
iii) – Aviation
iv) – Interior
v) – Agriculture and Rural Development
vi) – Finance, Budget and National Planning
vii) – Water Resources
viii) – Environment
ix) – Mines and Steel Development
x) – Science, Technology and Innovation
xi) – Power
xii) – And Niger Delta Affairs
- As a quick reminder, we launched the PMB Administration Scorecard Series on October 19th 2022 to showcase and document the numerous achievements of the Buhari Administration.
- Before I yield the podium to today’s guest, please permit me to react to the requests from the media seeking our response to the published allegation credited to a former Twitter staff that Twitter did not negotiate with the Nigerian Government in the wake of the suspension of the microblogging site.
- This claim is so ludicrous that one could just have ignored it. But the claim has continued to make the rounds online, hence our decision to clarify things, After all, it is said that if a lie is repeated often enough, people will believe it.
- Without mincing words, let me say that there was a long-drawn negotiation between Nigeria and Twitter, at the instance of the latter, following the suspension of the platform on June 4th 2021 because of its persistent use for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence
- Seven days after the suspension, precisely on June 11th 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. A copy of that letter is displayed on the screens here and will be made available to gentlemen of the press.
- After the letter, the Federal Government announced its team to discuss with Twitter. The team, chaired by the Minister of Information and Culture, also comprised the Attorney General of the Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice, Honourable Ministers of Communications and Digital Economy; Foreign Affairs as well as Works and Housing, Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency.
- Following the composition of our team, we received another letter from a group, Albright Stonebridge Group, which apparently was working at the behest of Twitter. The letter (which is also projected on thescreens and is available to the media), named the Twitter team to enter into discussion with Nigeria. The team was headed by Sinead Sweeney, Twitter’s Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, whom I mentioned earlier; Karen White, Senior Director, Public Policy, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa; Ronan Costello, Senior Public Policy Manager, Africa, Europe, Middle East; 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 negotiation 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.
- On this note, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is my honour and pleasure to invite the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs to make her presentation.