Since the suspension of Twitter operations by the Federal Government, people have been dissecting its legal, economic and political implications.
Bala Zaka, investment expert:
“The signal it sends to international investment should be more worrisome to the government. They should have engaged Twitter, diplomatically. Twitter is a global communication platform that connects people from different parts of the world economically, politically and socially. When you realise the influence this has on the business world, you would not want to take any action against the platform hastily.
“But that is what Nigeria has just done, which will go a long way to affect the confidence in the market. People are already wary of coming to Nigeria to do business owing to rising insecurity. The Twitter ban has further worsened the situation. The government has many alternative options to explore in its dialogue with the platform. But banning has only portrayed the country as intolerant of others’ opinions.”
Olusola Teniola, Nigeria Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet:
“The suspension may not have a direct impact on the telecoms industry but would hurt the MSMEs that need daily or constant access to reach the market. The best guess is that an opportunity exists for MSMEs to the tune of possibly $1.2 billion per year, which inevitably creates new wealth, productivity and youth employment.
“So as Twitter is a global digital communication and content platform, it is a veritable tool to diversify our economy and provide the youth a future to build their lives in a productive manner. It is evident that the longer the suspension continues the more the government of Nigeria will lose potential tax income.”
Steve Babaeko, President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN):
“A sizable portion of the youth population earn their livelihood off Twitter, some simply by being attack dogs or mouthpiece for politicians and the government. Clearly income for those youths will be lost no thanks to the ban. A chunk of media spend happens on Twitter, the media agencies and digital agencies will also lose money. Unemployment among the youth segment currently stands at about 35%, depending on which state of the federation you are looking at, the Crypto and Twitter ban will only exacerbate the unemployment situation. An idle hand they say is the devil’s workshop.”
Researcher, African Politics:
“Nigeria’s decision to suspend Twitter indefinitely could backfire for the government and cost the country economically in terms of new investments into its technology sector. The official press release gave only a vague justification, citing threats to Nigeria’s corporate existence. While only a minority of Nigerians use Twitter, they form part of the most vocal and politically active segment of the population. Many young people have used Twitter and other social media recently to organize anti-government protests. And Nigeria has been among the best-performing African countries in attracting investments for technology start-up business. The ban could threaten that status.
“Nigeria’s move is part of a worrying trend of governments in Africa throttling the use of social media. This year, Niger, Republic of Congo and Uganda have limited digital media around elections. Senegal also did so around anti-government protests. These shutdowns are typically justified as necessary to ensure national security around sensitive periods. But they transparently serve incumbent interests, by limiting democratic freedoms around information, expression and assembly.
“With its ban, the Buhari government has escalated into something much more serious. The damage to economic and democratic development from shutdowns can be significant, even with short blockages. Lost productivity and commerce threaten Nigeria’s economic recovery, and the reputational harm to its ability to attract investment to its digital economy could be long lasting.
“On the political side, the government risks angering the most vocal and engaged segment of the population, with the likelihood that even most non-users will oppose the ban.”
“Countries like China and Korea have done this and heaven didn’t fall. But for goodness sake, they did it when they had lined up alternatives. Ours is just that a president’s tweet was deleted. Now, businesses are suffering. In just a few hours this suspension has been enforced. I have made calls around my colleagues and other related services; it looks as if a valuable chunk of the earning process is yanked off our businesses.
“Twitter is one of the easiest and convenient ways of doing the back and forth in this genre of service provision. Since morning it looks as if we are mourning. It looks as if we are starting afresh. What kind of thing is this? Meanwhile, Twitter is not even most affected, because most of the adverts that give it revenue are not from here. I think we should think things through before doing them.
Joachim MacEbong, a
“It’s not even been two months that Twitter opened its Ghanaian headquarters and they have been proven right. This ban will keep investors away. Global tech companies that want to have a presence in Africa are likely to look at a place like Ghana rather than a place like Nigeria. Clearly, the registration is a pretext to regulation.”
NetBlocks, an internet watchdog:
“The Nigerian Government’s Twitter ban has cost the country N6billion since the ban came into effect three days ago. A single-day total internet outage would cost the country N48.596 billion economic value while Nigeria will lose N10.885 billion per day if WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are all shut down.”