The Nigerian economy has lost over N217 billion since the Twitter ban which entered its 100th day on September 14. This assertion was made by Netblocks.org an Artificial-Intelligence based digital analytics platform. The platform said it relied on the booking institution method which uses development indicators, approximated digital economy extent of 0.05 and classic free app GDP impact technique to arrive at its conclusion. Being an artificial intelligence, AI-based study, Netblocks is popular and its statistics are reliable.
But Twitter is hopeful that they would their services would soon be restored according to a tweet to The Guardian: “We continue to engage with the Nigerian government to discuss why Twitter has been blocked and ways to resolve the matter. We are committed to charting a path forward to the restoration of Twitter for everyone in Nigeria. Discussions with the Nigerian government have been respectful and productive. We look forward to seeing the service restored very soon.”
Meanwhile, at a press conference on Monday, social enterprise groups (Enough Is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Paradigm Initiative (PIN), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project) said the impact of the ban on the Nigerian economy has been phenomenal. They lamented that many advertisers and Twitter-based businesses are out of operations as a result of the embargo.
They unanimously called on the Federal Government to refrain from actions that put Nigeria among nations that infringe on citizens’ fundamental and socio-economic rights.
Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, Gbenga Sesan, said the ban impacted the revenue projections of many businesses. He said Twitter did not only lose market share but also advert revenues and other benefits its huge numbers in Nigeria gave it. He said top politicians were still tweeting, routing their accounts through Virtual Private Networks (VPN) where the benefits will not accrue to the country. He further described the ban as a misplaced priority amid critical issues facing the country.
EiE Nigeria Executive, ‘Yemi Adamolekun, said: “For the government to constantly shy from pertinent issues such as security, unemployment, and blame a platform for allowing people to express their dissatisfaction is pure laziness and shows they are not ready to solve these issues.” He noted that the ban is a disservice to both the government and its citizens.
Also, Twitter has lost about 23.44 percent out of its 25.52 percent market share before the ban. This is as other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram gain massively from Twitter’s losses. According to Statcounter, a global social media statistics platform, as of May 2021, Twitter had a market share of 25.52 percent in Nigeria, but this has drastically reduced to 2.8 percent as at August 2021.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians still want the government to rescind the action and lift the ban on Twitter. In a recent video, former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki had called on the Federal Government to review the ban in the interest of Nigerians.
He stated that government must always look at how its decisions affect young people.
He said: “When we talk about the Twitter ban, we must look at it from the point of view of how it affects the livelihood of young Nigerians.
Twitter is like a marketplace where people go to sell their products, goods and engage in business.”As a government, you have to ask yourself: ‘How does such a ban affect my people?’; ‘How does it affect the most important part of my population – the young people”? he added.
Saraki is not alone in the call that the decision should be reviewed. Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, Babajide Sanwo Olu of Lagos, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Paradigm Initiatives of Nigeria, PIN, and SERAP are among notable people and organizations that have condemned the ban.
The Federal Government on June 04, 2021 put a stop to the activities of the microblogging platform in Nigeria, asking all telecommunications networks and broadcast stations in the country to disconnect and disengage the services of Twitter.
The ban which the Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said was necessary because of the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, has attracted hue and cry from prominent Nigerians who feel the action was an attack on free speech.
The action was taken after Twitter deleted the tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari, citing its safety rule. Strangely, top politicians and big businesses are still tweeting, routing their accounts through the Virtual Private Network, VPN where the benefits will not accrue to the country. VPN is a remote server that bypasses the internet protocol to give access to various websites.
Source: The Guardian/Vanguard