It has been 100 days since the Federal Government of Nigeria banned Twitter in the country, and in that frame of time, the country has lost N247.61 billion. Just ten days after banning the microblogging platform, Nigeria lost over N24 billion in revenue and the ban has affected individuals and businesses across different industries.
On the 4th of June this year, the Federal Government suspended Twitter after the popular microblogging platform deleted a tweet by the President, Muhammadu Buhari. Consequently, Twitter was banned on the 5th of June, following a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
The tweet had read, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language that they understand.” According to Twitter, the tweet went against the company’s policies and had to be taken down.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture – Lai Mohammed, Twitter was banned because it provided a medium for people threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria to thrive. He accused Twitter’s CEO; Jack Dorsey of helping to fund the recent #EndSars protest and said his platform failed to delete a tweet by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that called for the killing of policemen.
In just 10 days of the ban, newspaper reports and statistics showed that Nigeria had lost at least N24 billion naira, adding that the nation would continue to lose more revenue as the days go by if the decision remains unchanged. In 100 days of the ban, the loss now stands at N247.61 billion.
The incurred losses come as no surprise as Twitter is used by individuals, brands, businesses, organizations, etc., for different purposes that cut across communication, information dissemination, brand visibility, etc. About 40 million Nigerians use Twitter; 20 percent of which use the platform for business advertisement and about 18 percent of which use it to look for job opportunities. Putting a hold on Twitter meant a stop to the income of individuals, businesses, and the country as a whole.
With Twitter’s ban, Nigeria became a member of an exclusive list of countries such as China, Iran, and North Korea where Twitter is banned. And since the ban, the use of Virtual Private Networks has risen, as Nigerians tried to circumvent the ban. A virtual private network firm, ExpressVPN had said that it recorded an increase of over 200 percent in web traffic from Nigeria since the Federal Government banned the microblogging site.
Recently, the Federal Government of Nigeria, via the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said it was in talks with Twitter, and indicated that it would soon lift the ban.